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Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic Salmon Flavor Scale

Back to Salmon Varieties

Atlantic Salmon Flavor Profile

Atlantic Salmon have a milder flavor than wild salmon.  The flesh ranges from pink to orange depending upon the amount of pigment added to their feed.  The flesh has a medium-firm texture with large flakes and a medium fat content.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Sushi Health Code Notes for Salmon

These are notes from the Washington State Health Code,  the health codes in your region may be different.
Wild salmon for  sushi should be frozen following these guidelines to kill any potential  parasitic larvae:

  • frozen and stored at -20° F (-4° C) for a minimum of 7 days (168 hours),  or
  • frozen at or below -31° F (-35° C) until solid and then stored at that temp  for a minimum of 15 hours, or
  • frozen at or below -31° F (-35° C) until solid then stored at -20° F (-4° C)  for a minimum of 24 hours

Aquacultered salmon for sushi can be served fresh (never  frozen) under the following circumstances:

  • they are raised in open-water net-pens, or
  • are raised in laned-based systems such as ponds or tanks
  • and are fed a formulated feed (such as pellets) which  contains no live parasites
  • (I don't quite understand these distinctions for aquacultured fish as it  seems to allow virtually all aquacultured fish! Very minimal standards.  Apparently the parasite issue is much more prevalent among wild fish.)

Proper documentation for sushi products

  • If freezing the fish in-house, documentation must show the temperatures and  time held at each temperature for all product
  • If frozen product is purchased from a vendor then supporting documentation  from the vendor is required stating temperatures and time held at each  temperature for all product
  • Fresh aquacultured fish must have supporting documentation from the vendor  stating the fish was cultivated according to the standards stated above.
  • All documentaion must be kept for 90 days

Alternate Names

Eastern Salmon, Norwegian Salmon, Scottish Salmon, Farmed Salmon.

Description (Salmo salar)

Atlantic Salmon have silver skin with black cross like spots primarily above the lateral line, as well as one or several large black spots on their gill cover.  They have no spots of the tail.  In comparison to wild salmon, Atlantic Salmon are most similar in appearance to Coho Salmon.  They are commercially available from 4 - 18 lbs.  A key difference between Atlantic Salmon and other Salmon is that they are iteroparous, meaning they do not die after spawning, but can return to the sea.
Follow the link for a video on how to identify species of salmon.

Range & Habitat

Commercial Atlantic Salmon are virtually all farm raised.  They are raised in floating pens and acquire the name of the country they are raised in: Scottish Salmon, Chilean Salmon, Norwegian Salmon, etc. Aquacultured Atlantic Salmon was first practiced in Norway in the 1960's but didn't really hit the commercial seafood scene until the early 1980's. Since then salmon aquaculture programs have grown rapidly and now it is a very successful industry in many countries. Read more about salmon aquaculture.

Typical Wholesale Products

Whole Dressed, H&G, Fillets, Steaks

Atlantic Salmon Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability.  Frozen available all year long.
Atlantic Salmon Availability


Atlantic Salmon Butchering Yield Percentage

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/On gutted 68% - 70% 63%  
Skin/On Fillets -- 85% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving

* Calories/Calories from fat 314
* Protein grams 34.1
* Fat grams 18.7
* Saturated fat grams 3.8
* Sodium milligrams 101
* Cholesterol milligrams 101
* Omega-3 grams 3.3


Atlantic Salmon Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Atlantic Salmon Eastern Salmon, Norwegian Salmon, Scottish Salmon, Farmed Salmon
Farmed - Recirculating System Worldwide Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Low
Farmed - Net Pens Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Atlantic Salmon, Verlasso   Farmed Chile Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  


Ikura Wild Alaska Green-icon_20.png n/a n/a  
Farmed Worldwide n/a n/a Red-Dot_20.png Low
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

 Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
January 2015


Additional Resources:
  National Marine Fisheries Service  


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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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