Wild salmon and sea trout: The natural selection

Wild salmon and sea trout have distinctive, pure flavours that are wonderfully rendered in these classic recipes, says Mark Hix
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

When I was growing up by the sea, fishing seemed the most natural hobby. Now I live in the middle of London I've become addicted to more sophisticated fly fishing for trout and pike. A day on the water, when I have time, is the most relaxing escape – something the fish also seem to do. I haven't tried salmon fishing yet but I can feel my first attempt isn't far off. I hope it's not too late to start. Many anglers now have unsuccessful days on exclusive stretches of water; chemicals and fertilisers washed into rivers from farms are endangering the future of wild salmon.

When I was growing up by the sea, fishing seemed the most natural hobby. Now I live in the middle of London I've become addicted to more sophisticated fly fishing for trout and pike. A day on the water, when I have time, is the most relaxing escape – something the fish also seem to do. I haven't tried salmon fishing yet but I can feel my first attempt isn't far off. I hope it's not too late to start. Many anglers now have unsuccessful days on exclusive stretches of water; chemicals and fertilisers washed into rivers from farms are endangering the future of wild salmon.

We are now well into this year's wild salmon season, but it is scarce and accordingly expensive. Salmon farming has changed forever the nature of this magnificent fish. Usually found pre-portioned in the supermarket, and costing less than cod and haddock, it struggles to retain its reputation as a luxurious treat, except when it is smoked. Even this is changing as old-fashioned kilns are replaced by electronic equipment that speeds up the process.

The best farms can produce specimens that are close to wild for quality and flavour, but the industry has backfired and played havoc with the food chain, in some cases, actually being responsible for diminishing stocks of wild fish.

Sea trout is only ever wild, and when you occasionally see it on display it is difficult to distinguish from salmon. The flavour is slightly earthy and delicate, and it doesn't take much cooking. This is the same fish as brown trout at a later stage in its life. After its juvenile stage inland it migrates to the sea and develops a silvery sheen and saltwater glands. These beautiful fish vary widely in size.

Cook salmon and sea trout with the care that such fine fish deserve, and always undercook slightly to keep their moisture and flavour.

Comments