Wild salmon season is starting! Wild salmon season is starting!
The Copper River salmon season was slated to open yesterday, so that world-famous fish should be hitting markets as we speak. Salmon from other places has been popping up here and there are awhile, but the Copper River opener has often been the big kick-off for many markets and restaurants. (Learn more About Copper River Salmon here.)
Why should you pay the extra $$ for wild salmon? First and foremost, just take a look at the wild Pacific salmon in your fishmonger's case and any farmed salmon in there nearby. My guess is the wild salmon is a brilliant dark pink if not an outright ruby red; the farmed salmon is, most likely, a pale, if not flaccid, white-ish pink.
That color difference is going to come across in the flavor. Wild salmon has a deeper, more salmon-y flavor - and flavor that varies between different species of salmon and when and where they run because they've hunted their own food instead of having processed anti-biotic-laden pellets fed to them.
King salmon (pictured fileted) is widely considered the, well, king of salmon varieties, but sockeye and cohos have their adherents, as well. Even pinks - most of which find their way to the cannery - are, when wild-caught and well-handled, a delicious salmon. See this handy Guide to Pacific Salmon Varieties for more information.
Once you have it, you have a lot of options. I'm a big fan of grilling salmon, but you may also be interested to know that you can use that grill to make smoked salmon. No grill? Smoke it inside or turn it into gravlax.