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4 tips for buying, cooking
4 tips for buying, cooking / Getty Images / Laurie Rubin

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Chock-full of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat), salmon reduces inflammation, protects lungs and boosts immunity. Plus, it can be easy to cook and tastes great.

Check out these tips on making the most of this high-quality protein:

Go wild. Atlantic (or farmed) salmon lacks firmness, color and heart-healthy fat compared with wild Pacific salmon, says salmon fisherman Dave Salmon, Ph.D. (Yes, he’s Dr. Salmon.) Plus, farmed salmon may contain toxins such as PCBs. For a more sustainable, healthy (and delicious!) option, select wild or wild-caught salmon.

Choose frozen. “People always assume fresh is best, but something could be ‘fresh’ for an awfully long time,” says Thea Thomas, a 26-season fisherman. Frozen salmon is more stable and controls parasites and bacteria, adds Bill Bailey, owner of Copper River Seafoods in Alaska. Frozen salmon keeps for nine to 12 months. To defrost, put the package in tap water in the sink for two hours or refrigerate overnight.

Don’t overcook. “One of the biggest mistakes people make with salmon is overcooking it,” says Salmon. “As soon as it’s not raw anymore, it’s done.” Allow 15-20 minutes to bake a 4- to 6-ounce filet. To save five minutes, preheat a cookie sheet at 400 degrees before placing the salmon on it, skin down, Thomas says.

Think kid-friendly. What kid doesn’t love tacos? Combine canned salmon (boneless, skinless is best) or leftover cooked salmon with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and chipotle mayo on a tortilla, Thomas says. She also suggests salmon nuggets: “Cut a fresh fillet into bite-size chunks, roll it in panko and fry.” Serve with limes.

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