Alaska sockeye salmon season is here!

These days, everywhere you turn, you hear health professionals encouraging consumption of “fatty fish,” like salmon, due to their omega-3 fats and associated health benefits. Fatty fish are a rich source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fats which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and may be beneficial in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, eczema, asthma, depression and bipolar disorder. Additionally, omega-3 fats are critical in the formation of the brain and eyes of developing fetuses.

It’s easy to understand why we’d all benefit from regularly (at least twice per week) consuming fatty fish. Fatty fish, like salmon, are an excellent source of high-quality protein, and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. A serving of salmon contains more Vitamin D than a glass of milk, another nutrient many of us are lacking in. There is no better time to start eating salmon than right now because it’s Alaska salmon season!

Alaska sockeye salmon are considered the best and are prized by high-end restaurants for their succulent, rich, flavorful and silky flesh. Why are these salmon so spectacular? All wild salmon are born in freshwater and migrate to the salty seas to mature. Eventually, they return to their home streams to spawn – and because they stop eating prior to and during the trip, they must store extra fat to fuel egg production and provide energy during the trip.

Cooking salmon can be very simple and there are a number of ways to prepare it. Alaska sockeye salmon is so delicious you’ll want to let the flavor shine in all its glory. Roasting is the perfect method to bring out the best of the fish’s natural flavor. At our house, the most common way to prepare salmon is on the grill. The recipe below is my family’s favorite way to enjoy salmon. For all you foodies out there who want something less simple, try a few of the flavor combos listed as variations, in place of the glaze.

Katy Wilhelmi, RD, LD is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee Food Store.

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