Learn the difference between wild and farmed fish, and why it matters to your health. This Wild Salmon Recipe is full of flavor and topped with a refreshing Nightshade-Free & FODMAP-Friendly Salsa that’s also Whole30 and AIP compliant. As an added bonus, you’ll get a (time sensitive) discount code from my favorite wild seafood supplier!
When people ask me what I miss about living in the States, my answer is always: my family, friends and salmon. For reals. Once you’ve tasted wild Alaskan salmon, you can’t go back. You just can’t.
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I would drive nearly an hour each way, to the Seattle Farmer’s market every weekend, to pickup my beloved wild salmon from my favorite seafood supplier – Wilson Fish Markets. During the fishing season, they catch their salmon (and other wild fish) within 24-48 hours of bringing it to the market. I was such a devoted customer that I became good friends with them, and they later invited me to their house to learn how to fillet my own whole salmon – talk about learning from the experts! (If you’re ever in Seattle and visit Wilson Fish Markets, ask for Tim, and tell him that Emily in Australia sent you!)
So being the salmon connoisseur that I am (does my sarcasm translate through text?), having tried every single variety and species of wild Pacific Salmon that I could find (yes, the fishmongers at my local Whole Foods knew me by name too!), when I first tasted the standard farmed salmon that’s readily available here in Australia, I couldn’t finish it!
Salmon snob? Maybe. But after all the years of learning how to listen to my body, I could hear the signals loud and clear: there’s something not right about farmed salmon. To me, it has an unusual acidic taste and mouthfeel, and my gut instinct said no. I’ve long-known the benefits of wild salmon (which was why I sought it out many years ago when I lived in Seattle), but I’m always willing to try things at least once. So I gave the Atlantic salmon here a go, thinking I could maybe make it a ‘sometimes’ food, since wild salmon is hard to come by in Australia (because it’s imported). But after tasting it, it’s just not worth it to me (especially knowing what I know about the chemicals and toxins in farmed salmon).
To summarize for you: farmed fish are fed an unnatural diet – nothing close to what they’d eat in the wild. Their feed is highly processed and can contain GMO grains, legumes and byproducts, as well as antibiotics, to counteract their poor living conditions. Because of this unnatural environment where they’re not given the freedom to swim where they please, living in cramped and crowded conditions, disease can spread easily amongst the fish.
So given this unnatural diet and poor living condition, the flesh of the fish is actually grey in color, resulting in dyes and colorants being used to give them their red-pink hue (the color that we are familiar with seeing in real, wild-caught salmon).
Because of all this, the nutritional benefits of farmed vs wild salmon can differ greatly.
I’ve asked clinical nutritionist and Omega-3 expert Warren Maginn to elaborate on this delicate balance:
“Since profitable fish feed pellets are designed to fatten fish efficiently, they invariably contain various forms of grains and/or legumes, which means they contain the vast amounts of Omega 6 (and very little Omega 3) that are found in these industrial foods. By contrast, the natural marine life diet of wild fish would be the opposite (very high in Omega 3 with very little Omega 6).
So, just as we say ‘we are what we eat’, the same could be said for the fish (who may carry higher amounts of Omega 6 fats in their body, for having endured their farmed existence, than they otherwise would). The key issue here is the balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 (more so than the absolute amounts of either) because Omega 6 promotes inflammation when taken up by the body, and Omega 3 inhibits inflammation instead.
Considering how many of us are already eating many of the high Omega 6 foods ourselves, we rely on high Omega 3 foods like fish to help rectify the imbalance. If the fish themselves are given this imbalance too, then eating them may be less able to help us in this regard. The fact that the processed grains and additives often also contain numerous inflammatory, and potentially hormone disrupting, pesticides and other toxic residues, only highlights the difference between these two sources of the same fish in our diet and therefore the potential difference in effect on our health.”
– Warren Maginn, Clinical Nutritionist.
So now that we know why wild fish, and in particular salmon is good for us, the problem here in Australia is that nearly ALL fresh salmon available is farmed. So for me, I went from eating wild salmon weekly in Seattle, to barely eating fish at all for the first few years I lived in Australia. A sad existence for a nutrient-dense foodie like myself.
Where To Buy Wild Salmon In Australia (and a discount code for you!)
It wasn’t until I met Josh and Tahlia at Little Seafood Co. that my salmon-loving life could be restored. Little Seafood Co. supplies Brisbane with a full variety of certified sustainable and wild seafood, including my beloved wild salmon!
Their wild sockeye salmon is caught in Canada, flash frozen, and shipped here to Australia. Now, sure, fresh is best, and I’m conscious of food miles, but given that we just can’t get wild salmon fresh in Australia, this is a compromise I’m willing to make. Despite having been frozen, the taste is still unparalleled to regular (fresh) farmed salmon in my opinion, and I’m just so grateful it’s an option available to us. You will see by my photos – whose colors I have not enhanced – that Little Seafood’s wild salmon is the real deal, check out that intense bright red color!
I appreciate that wild salmon and seafood has a higher price-point than standard farmed supermarket fish, so I’m happy to share that Josh and Tahlia have kindly offered a 10% discount on any seafood purchase with Little Seafood Co. from now through the month of March 2019!
You can find their stall on Sunday’s, at the Northey Street Organic Markets, so that means you need to get your buns there ASAP because this is a good deal folks! (I don’t receive any commission for supporting Little Seafood Co., I just appreciate their passion and commitment to providing Brisbane with quality seafood and I enjoy sharing the love for businesses and products that I personally use).
Just mention Emily from SoleFire sent you, and they’ll hook you up. But remember, you have from now until March 31st 2019 to get this deal, so be quick!
If you’re not local to Brisbane, never fear! I’ve been able to find one other wild salmon supplier, The Canadian Way, and they sell single serve frozen filets to retail health food stores with locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, or you can order online and have shipped to you.
Where To Buy Wild Salmon Outside Of Australia
For all my international friends, if you’re in Canada or the United States, then you can easily get fresh wild salmon at farmers markets and health food stores like Whole Foods. As for Europe, Asia and Africa, I don’t know what the wild seafood situation is like over your way, so please leave a comment if you do!
One Final Note About Your Health
When it comes to eating well, I do my best to choose the purest form of food that mother-nature intended. That being said, I never want to encourage food-fear or perfectionism. If you can’t afford, or do not have access to wild seafood (or any other health-promoting food), please don’t feel discouraged.
Firstly, Australia has pretty strict regulations when it comes to allowing food on the market for consumers, especially compared to some other countries, so it could be a lot worse. (So check your labels and notice where your food comes from!)
Secondly, the stress and anxiety that’s induced from fearing food, and any potential damaging side effects of consuming it, is ironically worse than occasionally eating that less-than-ideal food!
Looking at it from the bigger picture means, strive to do your best with what resources you have available, but don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good! I share what I know to inspire you, so let it be that, not additional stress.
As always, I am here to support you, so feel free to comment below with any questions and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram and Facebook with your wild salmon creations.
Now onto the Wild Salmon with Nightshade-Free Salsa Recipe!
Emily’s Dietary Scorecard
|Gluten Free||Dairy Free||Nut Free||Low Sugars (all forms)|
|Grain Free||Soy Free||Egg Free||No Added Sweetener|
|Paleo||Low FODMAP||Nightshade Free||Nutrient Dense|
- 1 whole side/filet wild salmon
- 1 TBL extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced*
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 batch Nightshade Free & FODMAP-Friendly Salsa
- Preheat your oven to 190ºC / 375ºF (convection preferred).
- Place your salmon on a parchment lined baking tray.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 TBL extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic cloves.
- Using your hands or a kitchen brush, spread the oil and garlic on the flesh of the salmon.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and bake in oven for ~18-20 minutes (depending on thickness of your filet) until desired doneness is achieved.
- Now, turn on your top oven grill, prop the oven door ajar and let the fish cook under the grill for 5-7 minutes further to brown the minced garlic.
- Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes before adding your Nightshade-Free & FODMAP-Friendly Salsa on top and serve. Enjoy!
*FODMAP-Friendly Option: omit minced garlic. You can also sub the regular olive oil for Cobram Estate's Garlic Infused olive oil which is FODMAP-friendly.
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