Wester Ross top in taste test
WESTER Ross Fisheries could not have had a better start to this year’s Boston show, after its salmon was chosen as the world’s joint best by the influential Boston Globe newspaper.
Globe reporter Sheryl Julian conducted a trial, making and tasting more than half a dozen salmon brands ahead of the expo last month.
All North Atlantic salmon sold in the supermarkets is farmed, she pointed out, as it is no longer fished commercially.
‘We sampled salmon from Eastern Canada, Norway, Iceland, British Columbia, Scotland, and the Faroe Islands,’ she wrote. ‘We also tasted wild Sockeye salmon from Alaska.
‘All of the farmed salmon looks similar — that familiar pinkish colour with fat stripes in a zig-zag pattern. Only the Sockeye stands out for its intensely deep hue.
‘In the tasting, our two favourites were Wester Ross from Scotland and HiddenFjord from Faroe Islands.’ Julian wrote.
‘Norway and Scotland salmon were on opposite ends of the taste spectrum. Norway salmon ($9.99/pound at Whole Foods Market, fish from Kvaroy Fish Farm) is what I think of as ‘wedding salmon’. This is what you get at events. The fish has big, deep, pink flakes, it’s moist, and if you close your eyes, you could be eating any mild fish. It has little salmon flavour.
‘The Scottish salmon we tasted ($14.95/pound at Captain Marden’s, raised at Wester Ross Fisheries) is everything salmon should be: perfect moist texture, delicious flavour that tastes of the sea, almost buttery. This topped our list of favourites, along with Faroe Islands.
‘Faroe Islands salmon ($14.99/pound at Marden’s, from HiddenFjord), tastes fattier than the Scottish, but not the least bit strong, with a dense, appealing texture. This fish and Scottish salmon tasted the best.
‘Iceland salmon ($8.99/pound at Whole Foods), a pale, almost pink, colour, melts as you eat it; but the texture is too soft and the taste unremarkable.
‘Farmed Eastern Canada salmon ($12.99/pound at Captain Marden’s) is a little chewy, mild to the point of being bland. It’s a little dry and doesn’t flake easily.
‘Organic farmed King salmon from British Columbia ($25/pound at Captain Marden’s) is shiny with very white fat streaks. It has a mild salmony taste with a beautiful, firm texture. We didn’t think it was worth the premium price. (Note: Though this is farmed, it’s King salmon, not North Atlantic salmon.)
‘Wild Alaska Sockeye ($14.99/pound at Whole Foods, previously frozen) is very dark, almost red, with lean, firm flesh that seems meaty. It has more flavour than farmed, but the dense texture isn’t winning.’
Above: Wester Ross boss Gilpin Bradley (left) with Wheeler Seafood’s team