Back in March, I had a lot of fun at Seafood Expo North America (SENA 2019) meeting up with many friends both old and new. Among the new friends I met at the Expo is a group from Scotland known all-over for raising some of the highest quality, sustainable, healthy and happy Atlantic salmon in the world. If you have not heard of Wester Ross Salmon yet let me give you some advice: If you see their salmon on a menu — get it!
Although I shed a little light on their products recently with their excellent smoked salmon, Wester Ross gave me a complimentary skin-on fillet to try out. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated because after I learned about the pains the company goes through to produce their award-winning salmon, I wanted to make sure I do the fish justice.
About Wester Ross Scottish Salmon
Since 1977 Wester Ross has produced ocean-raised, artisan salmon without the use of hormones, GMOs or antibiotics. These fish are hand-reared by the oldest owner-operator salmon farm in Scotland and the health of each individual salmon is top priority.
By being hand-reared, there is no automation, machines, or cameras used in the salmon life-cycle. The farmers know their fish intimately and are allowed plenty of room to swim, unlike some farms that cram them in for maximum profit. Wild salmon don’t like being crowded, until the run up river and in fish farms, crowded salmon are often sickly salmon. Farms run like that are bad for everyone: the farmed fish, the wild fish, the ecosystem and lastly, we the consumers. With Wester Ross most of this is not even a concern based on their system and to keep it that way, the company employs some aquatic neighbors to keep their salmon happy.
Wrasse And Salmon Symbiosis
Every salmonid, wild or ocean-farmed has to deal with sea lice, wild salmon carry an average of 8 on their return from the sea. Wester Ross, among the other Scottish salmon farms are able to keep this number down to 1 or less per fish. This is not just important for their own fish, but it is vitally important for the local wild salmon and sea trout stocks. How does Wester Ross do this without pumping the fish or water column full of medicine? By going back to nature and utilizing native cleaner fish called wrasse.
Cleaner wrasse species are well-known to anyone that’s watched coral reef documentaries. They are the fish that eat the parasites off the bigger fish and play a major role in the health of the surrounding ecosystem. Wester Ross only harvests local species like the ballan wrasse using non-invasive fish traps and then incorporate the fish into their salmon pens.
I was really impressed with Wester Ross when I met the team at SENA 2019. I learned as much about their wrasse as their salmon. That’s how important they are to the whole system. The system is so efficient and sustainable that a single wrasse can tend up to 100 salmon!
Wester Ross: Quality Feed, Kosher Certified And Full Traceability
You are what you eat…and when it comes to Wester Ross, their salmon are eating well. They are fed a special fish meal created by Skretting that utilizes off-cuts of North Atlantic fish destined for human consumption. What this means is that these Atlantic salmon are fed with fish native to their environment, and unlike some “industrial” fish species, they are not caught strictly to make fish meal. This high-quality feed, sourced from consumer-grade scaled fish is one reason Wester Ross salmon is Kosher Certified.
Wester Ross is committed to full traceability of their product and each fish and fillet that leaves the facility is sequentially tagged. Considering they raise these fish from egg to finished product, all by hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if they give these salmon names…no word on that yet.
As you can tell, I can go on and on about Wester Ross Scottish Salmon, but I suggest you check out their website for the full story. Now on to the recipe.
Low-FODMAP Seafood Recipe: Scottish Salmon with Maple Syrup and Ginger
After scouring the Internet, I cobbled this together from three other recipes. Although the ingredients I use are low FODMAP, keep an eye on serving sizes and your own personal experience.
- 1-2 lbs. Wester Ross Scottish Salmon
- 1/4 Cup Grade A Medium Amber Maple Syrup
- 2 Tbsp. Tamari Soy Sauce (has little or no wheat)
- 1-2 Tsp. Freshly Grated Ginger
- Pinch of Ground Coriander
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper
Place salmon in a large resealable plastic bag. Whisk remaining ingredients together and pour half into bag with salmon. Let marinate in refrigerator for about 1 hour. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Then place salmon on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Use remaining sauce to baste the fish while cooking or drizzle over before serving.
I couldn’t help myself and I marinated the Scottish salmon for almost 2 hours, and I had to stop myself from drinking the other half of the marinade. Top-notch local maple syrup, tamari and fresh ginger equals UMAMI in all caps – put that on drywall and I’d eat it.
Before I started the fish I prepared a side dish of roasted heirloom carrots and bok choi. I started the carrots first and then about halfway added the bok choi along with a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil and ginger. The idea was to have different but complementing flavors, with ginger being the common bond
Well that was a hit! Amazing flavor and perfectly cooked at 20 minutes. Not only was it delicious, but you could just tell before the first bite that it was of high quality. The meat was silky, with large flakes and virtually no gray meat. The maple glaze with soy and ginger complemented the natural sweetness of the salmon so well that I’m sure I’ll be using again.
It is easily the best piece of salmon I’ve ever prepared and can’t wait to get my hands on some more. Wester Ross Scottish Salmon is worth spending a little more for a responsibly raised, top-quality product. If you are like me and usually don’t eat a lot of salmon, I suggest sticking to wild-caught salmon or high grade farmed salmon like Wester Ross.