Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip

A little late for Mardi Gras but I’m always in the mood for cajun spices. My foodie palate was set by my parents, who where heavily influenced by the flavors of New Orleans. We would take weekend trips to the festive city, solely for the purpose of eating. The weekend was spent feasting on the city’s finest. Oysters, jambalaya, blackened fish and world famous gumbo. Those cajun flavors will never leave me.

This recipe is made with canned salmon to keep things simple. It’s one of those items I always have stocked in my pantry to ensure I eat enough omega 3s. The nutrition power that is omega 3 fatty acids continues to amaze me. Some psychiatrists are even beginning to prescribe omega 3 fats as a substitute or enhancer for antidepressant medications, 1 gram per day of EPA or EPA+DHA. Our brains are 80 percent fat, the highest of any organ, and a high proportion of these fats are the long chain omega 3 (EPA and DHA). So omega 3s are critical for normal functioning of adult brains.

Wild caught canned salmon has a high percentage of omega 3s than the farmed variety. Use this guide to help you find one. Two brands I trust are Wild Planet and Vital Choice. Many offer it with the bones still in as well. This is the one you want to buy. All those bones provide extra calcium and if you have difficulty getting enough of this important mineral, canned fish is a good way to get it. Four ounces of canned fish with bones provides a third of the 1000 milligrams you need in a day.

For the mayo in the recipe, I recommend making your own. Watch my 1 Minute Mayo video and see the magic of emulsifying!

Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip

Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip

Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip

Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip
Serves 6
Spicy salmon dip with cajun flavors.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15 oz can wild caught salmon - with bones
  2. 2 tbsp mayo - homemade preferred
  3. 1 tbsp canned coconut cream
  4. 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp dijon mustard
  6. 3 tsp hot sauce
  7. 3 tbsp finely chopped celery
  8. 3 tbsp finely chopped onion
  9. ¼ tsp salt
  10. ¼ tsp pepper
  11. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  12. ½ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Remember to keep the bones in the mix for extra calcium! They dissolve with enough vigorous stirring so you’ll never taste them.
  2. Serve with raw celery, red pepper and carrot sticks.
  3. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/

Resources:

The Jungle Effect: Healthiest Diets from Around the World–Why They Work and How to Make them Work for You by Daphne Miller M.D. 2009.

Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip

 

Spicy Cajun Salmon Dip

Farmed vs Wild Salmon & Salmon Cakes

Escape to Alaska just once and taste the most delicious salmon of your life. Our family celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday with an Alaskan cruise. The scenery was spectacular, boating through the pristine Glacier Bay National Park, watching the wildlife, learning about new ecosystems and enjoying fresh salmon every day. Alaska harvests the majority of the wild salmon we eat in the US.

Salmon is the most commonly eaten oily fish with a hearty content of omega 3. Sardines, Anchovies, Mackerel and Whitefish contain high amounts of omega 3 but you see these less often on the menu. Many studies have shown the benefits of including oily fish into your diet at least three times per week. It keeps down inflammation, reduces risk for sudden cardiac death, reduces blood pressure, and Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, Founder of the Center for Genetics & Nutrition says, “a balanced ratio of 1-2/1 of Omega- 6/Omega -3 is necessary for normal development throughout the life cycle.”

When choosing what salmon to consume, it’s best to bet on a wild caught variety.

Why Eat Wild?

►Farmed Salmon is fed a mixture of vegetable oils and oilseeds that increase the omega 6 content.

►Farmed Salmon does not contain choline. Choline is tied to functions including memory and muscle control and is necessary for cell membranes structure. Choline must be consumed in the diet to maintain health.

►Wild Salmon has twice the amount of selenium, which is required for the body’s natural protection against oxidants. It is responsible for protecting the brain against oxidative damage. Selenium deficiencies are also linked to thyroid disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

►Farmed Salmon is raised in coastal net pens, which is in direct contact with the surrounding marine environment. The waste from these farms is released directly into the ocean and parasites and diseases can spread into the wild.

►Salmon farmers may use pesticides and antibiotics to control outbreaks of disease.

►Farmed Salmon may be the first Genetically Modified (GMO) animal food. Quite alarming considering the FDA does not test GMO foods and is not focused on what happens to people who eat GMO foods. The FDA is still determining whether or not they will bring the product to market.

 Baked Salmon Cakes

What Salmon are you Eating?

Wild Atlantic Salmon – Currently threatened from overfishing and it’s illegal to harvest them in the US. So if you see them for sale, you’ll know something is fishy.

Farmed Atlantic Salmon – The majority of farmed salmon sold in the US is this variety. They’re raised in Canada, Chile, or Europe with a very small percentage coming from Maine.

Chinook Salmon – Also called King Salmon and most prized in the culinary world. Harvested all along the western US coast.

Chum Salmon – Least common variety, harvested in Alaska and have a lower oil content than other species.

Coho Salmon – Can be called Silver Salmon and most come from Alaska. They are also fished along the coasts from Russia to Japan.

Pink Salmon – Majority is packed and sold in cans. Harvested mostly in Alaska and accounts for close to half of all Alaska’s salmon harvest.

Sockeye Salmon – Most valuable salmon and when sold in the US close to 100% comes from Alaska.

Read labels carefully and ask your fish monger where and how they harvest the fish. If you’re skeptical then find another source or buy canned salmon online. Amazon is my go-to for hard to find food items. Two brands I trust are Wild Planet Foods and Vital Choice.

I typically bake salmon with coconut oil and then add an herb salt blend. That gets boring fast though. This recipe was inspired by the Salmon Croquettes my grandmother used to make. To make them gluten-free I substituted traditional bread crumbs with tapioca flour. They come out nice and crispy!

Baked Salmon Cakes Baked Salmon Cakes

Baked Salmon Cakes
Serves 4
Gluten-free, crispy baked salmon cakes. Substituting traditional breadcrumbs with tapioca flour.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  2. ½ tsp salt
  3. 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  4. 1 tsp black pepper
  5. ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  6. ¼ cup onion - minced
  7. 2 cans salmon - 14.75 oz per can
  8. 3 tbsp fresh dill - chopped
  9. 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the coconut oil into one large mixing bowl. Stir well.
  3. Form into palm-sized patties.
  4. Place on backing sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/

Resources:

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Biochemistry: Perspectives from Human Nutrition, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25373090

The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909

Dose-dependent consumption of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) increases plasma phospholipid n-3 fatty acids differentially. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23351633

Survey of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish and fish products. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23110317

A new predictor of risk for sudden cardiac death. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16961172

Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17284999

Circulating and dietary omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and incidence of CVD in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24351702

Omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure by directly activating large-conductance Ca2+-dependent K+ channels, http://www.pnas.org/content/110/12/4816.short

Guide to Omega-3 Levels of Fish, http://www.genesmart.com/filebin/pdf/Fish_Guide.pdf

Choline, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/choline/

Threat of Farmed Salmon from the monterey bay aquarium seafood watch® program, http://www.seafoodwatch.org/about-us/faqs

Genetically Modified Salmon, http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/genetically-engineered-foods/stop-frankenfish/

Types of Salmon, http://www.fishwatch.gov/seafood_profiles/species/salmon/group_pages/index.html