Salmon is an important ingredient in sushi, so it’s important to choose the right one. There are many different types of salmon available, but these 3 are the most common: Sockeye Salmon, King Salmon, and Pink Salmon.
Each type has its own unique features that make it better for certain recipes or cooking methods. The type of salmon you use can make a big difference in the taste and texture of your sushi.
The fatty content and texture of raw salmon are perfect for sushi. This fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids which improve heart health. Salmon is also high in protein, vitamins A and D, vitamin B12, and selenium.
Sushi restaurants typically use Sockeye because it’s a fattier fish which helps to ensure juicy sushi rolls, however, if you’re looking for something leaner for grilling try King or Pink salmon instead!
What Kinds Are Best Suited For Sushi?
Wild salmon often have parasites in their river home and should be avoided. Farmed salmon bred to be sushi-grade are sold frozen and are safe for consumption. Raw wild salmon at a restaurant always come of good quality and from a well-known place that serves raw fish.
When making your own sushi at home, buy fresh, high-quality fish from a trusted source. Make sure the fish is sushi-grade and frozen at -35 degrees Celsius or below. The best salmon for sushi should be bright pink and firm to the touch with no signs of browning. If there is any greyish color, it means that the fish has gone bad.
Wild Or Farmed: Which Is Healthier?
One of the main differences is about where the fish was raised. Farmed salmon is farm-raised in some aquatic farming operations while wild are caught from the ocean.
All farmed salmon are fed with other fish proteins to enhance their fast growth and can be fattened up in just six months compared to the several years it takes for wild varieties
While farmed salmon may not always have access to open waters where they can swim long distances, some farms give them additional space so that this is possible.
Wild-caught salmon is more expensive than farmed salmon, but they provide a more natural product
I believe that wild-caught salmon is healthier because it’s not raised in captivity and there is no risk of contamination.
In terms of color, farmed salmon differ from wild-caught in the same way as a carrot grown in California looks different from one grown in New Jersey.
6 Best Salmon For Sushi
1. Sockeye Salmon / Red Salmon
Sockeye is a tasty variety that has a firm texture making it perfect for sushi.
The Sockeye are also known as red salmon. They’re best for sushi because their flesh is bright orange and their flavor is deep rich. The Sockeye are known as reds because they turn red when they go up to spawn.
These are usually found in the Pacific states but are also found in Mexico and Canada. Sockeye salmon tastes excellent as sashimi and sushi.
2. Coho Salmon / Silver Salmon
If you’re looking for a lighter quality flavor, try coho salmon. Whitefish might be too light on flavor or have too much fat to be right for your tastes. Coho is often served as sashimi rather than being cooked so it can be eaten raw.
The Coho salmon is also known as silver salmon because of its silver color flesh. The flavor is milder than the Sockeye type, making it a good choice for less experienced sushi lovers. They’re available almost everywhere in North America in one form or another. Coho salmon is found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
3. King Salmon / Chinook Salmon
If you’re not a fan of coho salmon, perhaps king salmon is more to your taste. It is a large salmon weighing up to 20 pounds at maturity. They are a popular alternative for the Sockeye salmon as well as other types of red salmon.
The King salmon has a wonderful flavor but may not be quite as rich-tasting because they’re fished in colder waters than the Sockeye or Coho types. For this reason, they might lack some of their colors which would be a shame since that’s what gives them their name.
These big guys can be found throughout Alaska and Canada with smaller populations spotted in Pacific coastline states such as California and Washington state. King salmon thrive in the colder waters of Alaska and Canada.
4. Keta Salmon / Chum Salmon
If you like your fish on the salty side, try the Keta variety for a taste that burns with just the right amount of spiciness. Keep in mind that every variety has a slightly different flavor, so you may find one or more flavors suit your tastes better than others.
These are found in both Pacific states as well as California. The Keta is also known as dog salmon or chum salmon because of its appearance. It has dog-like teeth.
Keta is often canned or frozen for distribution, so it is very common at grocery stores and fish markets everywhere they are taken from the wild, such as Alaska, Washington State, and Canada’s Pacific Coast.
They’re best used for sashimi rather than sushi because their flesh tends to have too many bones for sushi lovers looking for something bite-sized or small enough to wrap around their favorite rice recipe.
Related: 7 Best Salmon For Smoking
5. Pink Salmon / Humpback Salmon
Pink salmon are usually the cheapest sushi-grade salmon available. It has a milder flavor than the other varieties but remains rich and delicious. The flesh is very light-colored compared to its cousins.
They’re found in the northern Pacific, usually in deep waters. The sushi made from these salmon has darker hues because of its higher oil content.
A great choice for sushi novices. The fat content is lower than sockeye, coho, and king salmon.
You’ll often find Pink salmon canned. But if you’re more into fresh salmon, you will have to go to your local farmer’s market to get it.
The Pink salmon are also called “humpies” or humpback salmon because, well, you guessed it – they develop a hump on their back.
6. Atlantic Salmon
Atlantic salmon are carnivorous, spending the first year of their life in fresh water and then migrating to saltwater for up to 5 years before returning to freshwater rivers. Because they live in the ocean, Atlantic salmon are richer in fish oils than Pacific salmon (in particular Omega-3 fatty acids) as well as higher in Vitamin D.
They’re also known as “King of the Sushi fish” and are a common choice among sushi chefs.
The color is bright red, flesh crispy with a firm texture and no smell. It has fat marbled throughout keeping it tender to eat even when very fresh and can be chilled for up to 3 days without losing quality.
Sushi made from these is a great choice for healthy eating.
For a change of pace, Atlantic salmon can be prepared with teriyaki sauce or other Asian flavors popular in American cuisine. Atlantic salmon also take well to pickling and smoking, making it perfect for lox or kippered salmon.
For cooking purposes, Atlantic salmon is the same as Pacific – it’s best when cooked rare and served chilled.
What Is Considered Sushi-Grade Salmon?
The sushi-grade salmon is usually the most expensive and highest quality form of salmon. It’s often used for sushi dishes. This type of salmon is rigorously inspected to ensure that it’s free of parasites and also high quality.
It is extremely important to the overall taste of the sushi dish in which it is served, so this salmon must meet strict health standards. To determine whether a salmon is sushi grade can be a bit confusing for some people as there are certain stipulations that need to be met.
Some of these include having red gills, pinkish-red flesh with bright orange coloration on the back, clean fins, and lean muscle tissue without any fat marbling.
These fishes are handled quickly, bled on capture, and immediately gutted and iced when captured. To be eaten raw, salmon should be flash-freeze at -35°F for 15 hours before consuming.
Related: Top 7 Wood Chips For Smoking Fish
How To Check The Freshness Of A Salmon Fish?
Knowing how to test for freshness in salmon is especially important when buying from the market because you wouldn’t want to spend on spoilt fish.
One of the best ways you can check the freshness of a salmon fish: try smelling it. If its smell is lightly fishy & salty or has some kind of sea-scented aroma, then it should be okay. It should have an aroma that resembles cucumber and watermelon.
Avoid any piece of fish that smells too fishy or has an overly salty scent. Also look out for pinkish eyes instead of white as this would be an indicator that it has been spoiled already.
Depending on the variety of salmon (wild vs farmed), a red tint would also represent a sign of spoilage. You should also check for any discoloration, as that would be another sign of spoilage.
You should know that a fresh salmon is shiny, nearly translucent, and without any whitish milky slime on top of it.
Raw fish has to be fresh because it is used for making sushi & sashimi. To tell if the fish is fresh, look at its physical appearance. Avoid any piece of salmon with dark patches which might be a sign that it’s already spoiled.
Whether farmed or wild, salmon shouldn’t have any dark spots present on its skin. When cooked, these dark patches might turn out black and look like some parts of the fish were burnt; this again indicates spoilage.
Additionally, avoid pieces of raw salmon meat that look translucent but milky white in color and has a consistency like jelly; avoid them too! The presence of those things would mean that your piece of fish has been frozen previously or is on its way to becoming spoiled.
While there is a common misconception that the redder the salmon, the fresher it is. This isn’t always the case!
The flesh of a fresh salmon should be pink or peach in color (depending on its variety). One trick you can use to tell if your piece of fish is too old would be checking for a white stripe on top of it. This would mean that the meat has been frozen previously, so avoid buying it.
The texture of your salmon is another important point to check before purchasing one. The flesh should be moist, firm, and slightly springy to touch. As soon as you press on it, it would bounce back rather than bending too much under the pressure applied.
The fish should not be mushy or super springy as that would indicate it has been frozen previously or it might have been defrosted already.
It should also not feel like jelly when you press down on it with your fingertips.
There are many different types of salmon out there these days — Pacific or Atlantic, farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh whole fillets, or thawed pre-cut pieces. No matter what type of salmon you buy, ensure that the fish is fresh and has a nice red color. It should smell like the ocean, not chemicals or ammonia.
Just remember this: if it smells bad, look brown or very pale in color — chances are it’s going to taste awful. If you’re at all uncertain about whether or not the piece of salmon is any good to eat raw, ask your local fishmonger before purchasing … then treat yourself to some tasty sushi!