Catch Fresh Health Benefits with Salmon Preparations

by Chef John Panza, Owner, BiGA 

Salmon is affordable, easy to find, tends to stay moist, and has a mild flavor most people enjoy. And, it has all kinds of health benefits.

Eating fatty fish such as salmon can decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease; dietary intake also supports healthful cholesterol levels. Omega-3s are linked to increasing brain function and helping fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Pay attention to how it’s prepared. Poaching adds no fat to the dish, but also lacks in flavor and texture. Grilling, searing and baking achieve more flavor with adding a small amount of fat.

At BiGA we combine searing and poaching to give as much flavor as possible, with as little extra fat and keeping the fish very moist. Braised salmon has become one of my favorite preparations; it is moist, flavorful and can be paired with rice, pasta or grains, green beans, broccoli or local bok choy.

Braised Salmon: 

2 6-oz. Salmon filets
1 Shallot, minced
1 tbs Garlic, minced
1/4 cup White wine
2 cups Tomato Fennel Broth (see recipe)
Olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper

  1. Place a large sauté pan on high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon in a hot pan sear one side until golden brown.
  2. Once seared, add shallot and garlic and more oil if needed. Sauté for 1 minute then deglaze with white wine. 
  3. Let wine reduce until almost gone, add tomato fennel broth, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 min. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Tomato Fennel Broth: 

1 Yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves Garlic
1 Fennel bulb, chopped
6       Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can  Tomato paste
1 tbs   Oregano, dried
1 tbs Basil, dried
1 tsp Red chili flakes
2 cups White wine
Olive oil – as needed
Water, as needed
Salt and pepper

  1. Place a large sauce pot on high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Add chopped onions, garlic and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until brown, caramelized and fully cooked. Add chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until all juices are released.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often and caramelizing the tomato. Add dried herbs and white wine. 
  3. Turn heat to low and let wine reduce until almost gone. Add enough water to cover all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Blend in a blender until smooth and cool.