The pros: Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon is one of two salmon options available in the refrigerated aisle.
The cons: This is priced higher than the farm raised salmon. No cooking directions on the package beyond suggestions of bbq, pan fry or broil.
The verdict: I don’t know about you, but I’ve become an increasingly cynical shopper. I remember when Whole Foods first started to become popular. But the premise of paying more for “natural” foods drives me a bit nuts. To me, something “organic” should not be a premium. Shouldn’t food just be a naturally occurring thing? Without needing an up sell? For the most part, I think the all natural stuff should be the cheap stuff. If there is something truly special about it, then they can convince me to pay more for it.
On the refrigerated shelves stood two different types of salmon: one wild and the other farmed. Two difference prices but visibly different products. So, we all know what salmon tastes like right? Well, not so quick by looking at this. You see priced at $11.99 per pound, this is a bit of a premium as compared to the farmed salmon on the shelves next to it. Beyond the $2 per pound price difference, certain other difference become apparent.
This is much deeper in color. While the farm raised salmon is a light orange hue, these fillets border on a red-orange. They also don’t have the same zebra like pattern of fattiness. The key here in whether or not it is worth it is how it tastes.
Each of these two fillets are make for a nice single portion. The fillets are not nearly as thick as the farm raised salmon. The skin is also on. If you are pan frying this, start with the skin side down. Usually for presentation purposes, salmon is served skin side up to prevent the skin from losing its crispiness. For the sake of this blog post, I opted to show the flesh of this fish because odds are if you are buying this it isn’t for the skin anyway.
As far as the taste goes, yes, this does taste much different from farm raised salmon. It’s much leaner. It’s also more salmon-y. So, depending on your cooking ability, you might want to remove this from your pan or broiler sooner than you would otherwise. Without those extra stripes of fat, you could easily overcook this and it will be dry.
There are no cooking instructions here to warn you. But the words BBQ, pan fry, and broil indicate high heat and quick heat at that. I did not time this, but I will tell you it was cooked in under 7 minutes. So, if you are a careful cook and you want to taste what salmon should taste like, then yes, reach for this. If you are terrified of undercooked fish, then stick with the farm raised salmon it is far more forgiving. In either case, you’ll probably be surprised by the taste difference. If all you have ever had is farm salmon, this might open your eyes a bit on flavor.
For $11.99 for wild salmon this is a pretty good price. The fillets are thin and small. It’s worth a try even just once. And yes, it was worth the extra $2 per pound to give this a whirl. Farmed and wild salmon are vastly different.
Overall, there is a noticeable difference beyond just the visual appearance as well as the taste. While I really liked this, I may still stick with farm raised because I do enjoy a bit of a fattier fish fillet when it comes to salmon. Maybe it’s just what I’m used to.
Here is the visual run down of what you get if you buy this product:
The package of Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon:
The nutritional information and the ingredient:
Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon after being cooked and placed over an entire bag of sautéed baby spinach you get:
With some Lemon Caper sauce you get:
Would I buy this again? Yes, I would consider buying Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon again. It’s less forgiving than farm raised, but it is a lot more complex.
Want to see more items I’ve reviewed from Trader Joe’s? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!