Trying Canned Salmon for the First Time

I really didn’t know anyone that ate salmon or even canned salmon growing up. It’s not a locally caught fish and like most fishing families, I didn’t pay for fish. I don’t recall eating salmon until my late teens. When I finally did, I realized what the big deal was, good salmon makes for memorable meals. The canned seafood I ate as a kid was tuna, and although they are sold side by side, I didn’t know anyone that ate canned salmon.

The only other time I’ve opened a can of salmon was a few years ago. I don’t know how I got it, but I had a 14 ounce can of pink salmon. I decided to open it up one day to see if I could make fish cakes or croquettes out of it. What I found inside was the stuff of nightmares.

It was a gross pile of skin and bones flaked with some pink meat. If I didn’t know better, I would assume a seagull threw it up. Either that or the fish was shot out of some sort of air cannon, down a long hallway and into the waiting can. With a shudder, down the disposal it went as I gagged at the thought of how important a role canned salmon has played in modern food history.

Well, now I run a seafood blog and If I’m going to be taken seriously, I got to try as many types of seafood products as I can. With small cans of Rubenstein’s canned red salmon on sale I decided it was time to take a small leap and give canned salmon a real try.

Rubenstein’s Fancy Blueback Red Salmon

canned salmon ingredients

This can of Rubenstein’s Fancy Blueback Red Salmon holds 3.5 oz. This is a brand of Trident Seafoods of Seattle, Washington. Trident is one of the largest American seafood companies and their various products can be found in major supermarkets. The can of salmon’s only ingredients are red salmon and salt. They have a little blurb about how it is an all-natural product, ready to eat right out of the can. Well, let’s see about that.

The Product

canned salmon contents

After opening the can I admit it did not look nearly as bad as my first experience, but I don’t think I would eat it right from the can. The can held mostly good-looking salmon meat, the backbone section in the middle and just a little skin around the edge. I needed to clean up some of that, but in the end the weight of the contents was mostly salmon.

How I Prepared the Canned Salmon

This hardly qualifies as a recipe, more of a desperate attempt to make lunch the day before I go shopping. I’m stranded at home without a car and so I used what I had to make a salmon patty.

I combined the salmon, minus a few skin pieces and bone, with some lemon zest and juice, black pepper, dill, 1 egg and seasoned breadcrumbs. I formed this all into one large patty, which I then fried in a pan with a little vegetable oil.

A few minutes per side and it was golden and crispy looking. I drained it on a paper towel while I toasted some bread and spread with some mayo. I squeezed some lemon juice on the patty before taking that first apprehensive bite.

salmon patty

The Verdict

It didn’t taste all that bad, although I’m pretty sure I used too much breadcrumb. The lemon and herbs with the breadcrumbs made it taste more like a seafood stuffing than a fish cake. Which gives me an idea for something for the holidays perhaps. Having another small can of salmon would have probably helped in making it more like a fish cake or salmon patty.

I wouldn’t say that I’m sold on canned salmon, but Rubenstein’s seems to be a pretty good product with my very limited experience. If I do buy canned salmon again, I’m glad to know there is at least one brand out there whose product looks like food instead of gurry.