What Goes Well With Salmon: One Question – Many Answers
Not long ago, I posted about canned salmon and making dinner with my boys. Well, the dinner came and passed, but the discussion we had that evening inspired me to write this article.
I made roasted potatoes as a side dish because I wanted to keep things simple and traditional, but then my older son raised a question if spinach risotto would be a better choice.
My hubby disagreed and said that pure lemon juice is what goes best with this fish, while my younger son was all about garlic combinations. I was so surprised! I did truly spoil them!
Most interesting part was that all four of us had a different opinion on what goes best with salmon. In the end, we agreed to disagree and concluded that salmon is so good itself that it is suitable with almost any side dish you can imagine.
So let’s find our salmon some new plate-buddies!
1. Vegetables – Safe Solution
I would always recommend using vegetables which are at the peak of their season at the moment, but we'll go through some of the most commonly used.
- Asparagus – is probably the first vegetable that comes to your mind when you think about salmon because it is combined so often. If you like natural flavors, its mild earthy taste is perfect! Both green and white will work great and make a perfect spring meal. You can use it fresh or steamed. Asparagus and fish can be prepared together in foil, so the flavors inosculate.
Bitter Green Vegetables
- Bitter green vegetables – like broccoli, Swiss chard or collard greens are usually used for making a quick sauté. There is also the aesthetical reason for using them because they make a great contrast to salmon's color on the plate. However, because of their bitter taste, you'll need to add more than just olive oil, garlic or lemon to make them salmon-friendly. One of the solutions for that problem can be soy-sauce.
- Green Beans – garlicky braised or broiled greens get along with salmon splendidly. It’s easy to prepare, and I've never met anyone who didn't like it. Depending on what are you trying to accomplish, congruency or strong contrast to salmon, you can make your beans more or less soft. But, remember to use garlic, because it enhances their taste.
- Potatoes – because of salmon's fatty, smooth character, textural contrast is always the right choice. You can achieve it by making crispy, crunchy potatoes. The aim is to get potatoes with crusty edges and soft insides. They are best served with smoked salmon and usually, everyone likes them.
Further Reading: Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?
2. Fruits – Risky but Worth the Effort
Don't look so surprised; fruits go well with salmon too. If you don't believe me - try it yourself.
- Lemon – all time classic. It goes well with almost any fish. When eating canned salmon, few drops of lemon juice are all you need; no other side dish is needed. Fruit’s sharp sour flavor makes the fish taste even more sophisticated. Lemon goes best with whole, filleted or portioned salmon, but you can use it in any salmon dish. It won't do any harm.
- Lime - perfect choice if you like salmon-lemon combination, but lemon's acidity is too strong for your taste. Lime will provide lighter, but still fresh aroma. Lime goes best with portioned, whole and filleted salmon too, but if you want to try something completely new and exotic, I recommend salmon baked in lime-coconut cream sauce.
- Mango – sweetness and fleshy texture of this fruit are the main reason it suits salmon so well. Mango is especially good combination if you are making salmon on a BBQ (have a look at some of the best electric grills and electric griddles that you can use for making roasted salmon), but you can also throw in some rice and mix these ingredients into a salad.
- Pear – like the texture of mango and salmon was similar, the situation with pear is entirely different. Pear's crunchy texture and sweet flavor make a good contrast for soft salmon. However, this fruit has a very subtle taste which is good, because salmons true flavor stays distinctive. It is best to be served with hot-smoked fish.
- Rockmelon – very specific flavor and sweetness of rockmelon enhance salmon’s earthy aroma. It is most commonly used to make a salad, and it’s even better with a pinch of basil. Cold-smoked salmon will go best with this fruit. If you want to feel the real taste blast, use smoked salmon, rockmelon, mango, oranges, mint and olive oil for making a super fresh salad.
These are the regulars, but you can use any fruit with salmon and every time you'll get different, unique taste. Fruits are mainly sweet or sour - both of those tastes compliment salmon so that you won't make a mistake. My personal favorite is salmon filet with strawberries and wine.
3. Cheese – The “Forbidden Fruit”
There is this myth running around, and it teaches people that fish and cheese are forbidden combination. It is complete nonsense, and I am very saddened by the fact that many people are missing out on the cheese-salmon combination.
Cheeses with robust flavor and odor might make a problem, indeed. Fish is delicate, and its flavor can be easily overwhelmed by the cheese. However, there are exceptions to the rule. Just stick to using more subtle cheeses, and you'll be surprised by how great this combination is!
These are the ones I prefer to use:
- Salmon can go with cream cheese, for example in making great appetizers like salmon mousse.
- Smoked salmon can be turned into quiche if you combine it with goat cheese.
- Fillets and Cheddar, baked together will blow your mind.
- Mozzarella in all her subtlety is one of the best choices, and it melts so well.
- And don't forget about parmesan, which will give your salmon a delicious crust.
Before we finish, there is one more stigma I want to break. You must have heard that fish and red wine don't go together. As in the cheese case, it is only partially true. The main problem is, again, the taste of red wine potentially overwhelming the delicate flavor of the fish.
This “rule” depends on the preparation method and sauce you are planning to use. Salmon can be easily paired with rosé or light-bodied, low-tannin red wines. Of course, when you eat such delicious dishes, as all of the previously listed are, you would like some delicious drink to accompany them.
But, as I am not an expert when it comes to wines, I won't talk about this theme any further. I just wanted to highlight and underline the fact that you can, and you should drink wine with fish. For all of you who just need to know which wine is salmons best companion, here is a clear and thorough guide.
Remember to enjoy your food and forget the things people are talking; they are more often wrong than right. Have a great meal! 🙂