Delicious! Salmon Curry Cakes with Ginger and Pistachios

There is nothing better than crab, but why use it in this spicy recipe?  Crab is best eaten on its’ own, needing no enhancement. On the other hand, canned salmon shines in this very delicious recipe which originally called for crab.  Economical, but no less nutritious,  pink salmon works just fine.  Lacking any good photos of the salmon cakes, here is a beautiful shot from the land where the salmon was harvested.

When you take your first bite, think of this picture and mumble “God Bless William Seward in his foresight to buy Alaska!”

Traveling to the fishing grounds the day after a big storm.

Traveling to the fishing grounds the day after a big storm.

Salmon Curry Cakes with Ginger and Pistachios

With pistachios and ginger these salmon cakes are a little more exotic than usual, but they are delicious and make for a nice lunch the next day. They would also make wonderful appetizers. Redhead &/or Thinkpink would work equally well in this flavorful recipe.
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP curry powder of choice
5 green onions. or 1/3 cup regular onion, chopped fine
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced fine, adjust amount to taste
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 piece ginger, about ½ inch long, peeled and chopped fine
2-7.5 oz cans Redhead or Thinkpink, canned wild Alaska salmon, drained and mixed—include highly nutritious skin & bone, they will just disappear into the recipe
3 eggs lightly beaten
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
½ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
Generous ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable or light olive oil for frying

Melt butter in small frying pan over medium heat, add curry powder, cooking briefly until it darkens a little and becomes aromatic. Add chopped onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic & ginger. Cook on medium about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Cool

Gently blend cooked ingredients, drained & chunked salmon, eggs, breadcrumbs, pistachios, parsley and salt and pepper in bowl.

Make 8 cakes about ½” thick. Make 16 portions and serve as delicious appetizers.

Heat large frying pan over medium heat, add oil, and frying a few cakes at a time about 3 or 4 minutes per side until nicely browned.

Serve with your favorite chutney or perhaps the following;

Curry-Lemon Sauce
Mix together
¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ tsp curry powder, ½ tsp grated lemon peel. ¼ tsp paprika


Wild Alaska Canned Salmon + Olive Oil + Onion


Jim likes to hike, in addition to coming up with new great ways with canned salmon.

It couldn’t be easier, and these ‘nutritional good guys’ seem to get along very well in this wonderful trio of some of nature’s finest and most nutritious foods.

Jim is always thinking of new ways to eat Redhead or Thinkpink, as this is what he eats at lunch 90% of the time—canned salmon and a little cream cheese on a bagel.  This is Jim’s latest, and may be greatest recipe. Drain a can of Think Pink or Redhead, put contents of the can, including highly nutritious skin & bone, into small bowl.  Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil, some chopped onion & lightly mix.  Use this on bagels, salads, or just as is.  Squeeze on a little lemon juice, or even a little vinegar if you like.   If you use Redhead, drain some of the liquid and supplement with a little olive oil in addition to the onion.   The olive oil lightens the flavor and seems to increase the shelf life of the flavor.   You can also mix the Redhead and the Thinkpink.  Feel free to add capers, celery, garlic.

Hardworking Bering Sea Longliners Eat Canned Alaska Salmon

Even Bering Sea fishermen like Remo Lotscher and Andy Zuanich eat canned Alaska salmon

Even in a literal sea of the world’s finest and freshest seafood, Alaska fishermen eat canned Alaska salmon.  Remo Lotscher and Andy Zuanich of the M/V Primus take plenty of canned Alaska salmon on their longline trips in the Bering Sea.  Canned Alaska salmon, both Thinkpink pink salmon and Redhead red salmon,  are easy to eat and deliver the highest quality protein for optimal energy when working the long hours on a fishing boat.  They eat canned Alaska straight out the can when there isn’t time for food preparation.  Those are black cod that they are processing fresh on the boat.

Red Salmon Versus Pink Salmon Versus Tuna

What’s the difference between red (sockeye)and pink (humpback) salmon? 

Pink salmon is inexpensive; red salmon costs more. Red salmon flesh is actually red, and pink salmon looks more like tuna. When red and pink salmon are pulled fresh from the sea their flesh is, in fact, distinctly red or pink. The cooking process of canning reduces coloration in both. Red salmon gets its enhanced color from eating krill, a type of small shrimp. Pinks are the most abundant salmon, followed by reds.

Pink salmon, upon hatching, go directly to the sea, whereas red salmon spend over a year in fresh water. Red salmon need a lake or other large body of fresh water in which to grow. The largest red salmon run in the world by far is in Bristol Bay, Alaska, an area uniquely blessed with a system of saltwater bays and freshwater lakes. The world’s largest pink salmon runs are located in Southeast Alaska, which has a mild climate coupled with abundant rainfall, and thousands of short streams running from landfall directly to the sea.

Alaska is a very sparsely populated state with little polluting industry. Nutritionally, the two types are nearly identical, though pink salmon is listed by the USDA as having slightly more Omega-3’s than red salmon (1.7 mg per serving versus 1.3 mg).  This slight difference may be limited to the samples tested, or it may have to do with the small oily fish that pink salmon sometimes eat.   Though all wild salmon are extraordinary sources of Vitamin D, red sockeye salmon is the king with 795 IU per 3.5 oz serving.

Why is red salmon more expensive than pink salmon?

Supply and demand and a historic bias for red salmon account for the cost differential. We have done blind taste tests, and when people don’t know which fish they are eating, statistically they report a slight preference for pink over red. When tasters state a bias, they generally insist that red is best. We at Pure Alaska speculate that this preference was established in the days before boat refrigeration, when reds held up in the hatches of fishing boats far better than the more delicate pinks. Admittedly, pink salmon was not a very appetizing food back then. In the past twenty years the Alaska salmon-fishing fleet has invested in chilled circulating seawater fish holds, and this has vastly increased the quality of canned salmon. The salmon are pulled directly from the cold, clear waters and put into the fish holds where they remain until processed at the cannery – typically the same day. The quality of all canned wild Alaska salmon has increased immensely, but the lowly pink salmon has really been transformed.

Tuna vs. Wild Alaska Salmon – Alaska Salmon is the Hand’s Down Winner

 Tuna is still a great food choice, far better than many other protein choices, in our opinion. Tuna is especially good compared to many other budget meat products. We at Pure Alaska Salmon Company LLC do not presume to enter into the controversies over frequency of safe consumption. There are definitely  U.S. companies that sustainably harvest and process an excellent tuna product.  We enjoy a good tuna sandwich ourselves.

That said, we offer this list of important reasons to consider canned Alaska salmon as an alternative to your familiar preferences. Wild canned salmon offers: 

*Five times the health enhancing omega-3’s as conventional ‘grocery store’ chunk light tuna, and twice that of conventional ‘grocery store’ albacore tuna (USDA)

*Many times over the vitamin D as tuna (this depends upon whether we are comparing sockeye or pink salmon or Albacore or chunk light tuna)

*No (or negligible) detectable mercury,

*Flavor and appearance similar or better than(especially Thinkpink) first rate albacore

*Product of the U.S.A. that providing thousands of jobs at every phase of its production — in an environmentally friendly, sustainable manner

* Harvested at the last stages of the salmon’s natural complete life cycle

People find the more they use canned wild Alaska salmon, the more they use it.  It is just a great source of protein, and is so easy to use.

Cheating on Grandma Irma’s Coleslaw Recipe

Grandma Irma Zuanich was very fine cook.   As a matter of fact, in her obituary, it was noted that she “…Made the best Slav Spaghetti on South Hill.”  Among her recipes was a coleslaw that we adapted, with superior results, to using canned salmon rather than small Oregon shrimp she recommended.   Her wonderful recipe,  available on our website as “Irma Beulah’s  Salmon Coleslaw” will appear at the bottom, but I think I have found a better version of this wonderful salad.

Cabbage and salmon do not make an instant food marriage in my head, but I assure you, it is a wonderful result, and so healthy.  Just today for lunch I toasted my favorite hearty rye bread (Mestermache brand), sliced some provolone cheese and ate it with a dish of this wonderful coleslaw recipe that follows.  A superb, easy lunch eaten in front of my computer screen.  A good lunch makes for a better day all around.  I was inspired for this latest rendition of salmon coleslaw by a recipe I found in the San Juan Classics Cookbook, written  by Janice Veal and Dawn Ashbach.

Coleslaw with Canned Salmon

4 cups chopped green cabbage

1 bunch green onions, chopped, including green tops

1 chopped cucumber

1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)

1/2 cup sliced red radishes (optional)

1- 7.5 oz can of Redhead or Thinkpink–drained, and lightly crumbled and mashed, including nutritious skin and bone

DRESSING (recipe below)

1 avocado, sliced or chopped

1/2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice

Toss cabbage, onion, cucumber, along with optional ingredients in large bowl.  Prepare dressing and mix in with cabbage mixture.  Arrange avocado on top of salad, squeezing lemon juice over avocado to prevent darkening.  Serve immediately.  Keep chilled  and it stores well.


1/2 cup mayonaise

2 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt or celery salt

Dash of paprika

Irma Beulah’s Salmon Coleslaw

Combine the following in a large bowl;

4 cups  green cabbage, chopped

1-7-5oz can Redhead or Thinkpink drained and chunked

1 green pepper, chopped fine

1 bunch green onions, chopped fine including tops

1/can black olives, sliced


1/2 cup mayonaise

3 TBSP white vinegar

2 tsp white sugar

Mix ingredients and toss with salad vegetables, Chill and serve.

Random Musings About Canned Alaska Salmon

The canned salmon of today is a vastly improved from product what it was 25 years ago. Now most boats in Alaska feature chilled circulating sea water fish holds. The salmon are taken from the cold, pristine waters of Alaska and put directly into these tanks, where they remain until they get to the processing plant, just hours later. The condition of today’s salmon is light years better than the good old days when the salmon were packed into unrefrigerated fish holds. No fisherman would eat canned salmon back then, but that is not true anymore.

I liken a can of traditional pack Redhead or Thinkpink, as a ‘Salmon steak in a can, perfectly poached (but really pressure cooked in the can), hours after capture, ready to be used in a host of dishes.’

We, the Zuanich family, commercially fish-from Dungeness crab to halibut and black cod as well as salmon. I feel privileged, no, blessed to have access to the seafood that I do, and we eat more canned salmon than any other fish. We have found canned salmon to be the absolute superior lunch time food. Hence, my most useful recipe card is probably, ‘Straight Out of the Can.’ Four or five times a week we eat salmon at lunch. I like my canned salmon with a half a toasted bagel or that wonderful German whole grain rye bread (Mestemacher is the brand), toasted, with a thin layer of lower fat cream cheese, salmon, a squeeze of lemon juice, some chopped red onion and maybe a few capers. If you accept my ‘perfectly poached salmon steak in a can’ routine, a can of salmon is just like having perfectly cooked salmon leftovers always at your beck and call.

We have quite an array of canned salmon recipes on our website, The most surprising recipe, the one I often use in in store demonstrations, is “Fabulous Salmon Curry Salad.” It was a recipe I have used with chicken breast, but I just substituted canned salmon which is much easier, less costly and vastly more nutritious than your standard chicken breast. Due to technical malfunctions, I cannot attach that recipe here, but if you go to our website (, you can easily see it, and download a recipe card. It is canned salmon with apples, almonds, curry, raisins, etc, and it is sublime.

Redhead, the sockeye salmon is, well, red. It’s less expensive cousin, Thinkpink, looks just like tuna. It is easy to present Redhead as salmon, and it just sits on that bagel like that is where it belongs. I have demonstrated canned salmon to literally thousands and thousands of people, and they will generally claim that Redhead tastes better. That visual clue of the red flesh is just too powerful. However when tasted blindly, people cannot tell the difference, and nutritionally, both are about the same. The pink salmon can be used just like one would normally make a tuna salad, and one would be hard pressed to tell that it wasn’t a very good can of tuna. My husband uses the juice of the Redhead (there is no added oil or water, and any liquid comes solely from the salmon itself), but generally gives the less colorful pink salmon juice to the lucky cat or we freeze it to use in chowders. However, in the drained pink salmon, he adds a touch of olive oil and a little Dijon– very, very tasty.

Canned salmon is also a great protein for dinner time meals. We take canned salmon, I kid you not, on our commercial salmon fishing boat in the summer because it is so easy to make salmon cakes at night. As you can use every bit of the salmon in the can, including the digestible, soft bones and the omega 3 rich skin and fatty layer, using canned salmon is way less labor intensive than cooking up a fillet. Believe me, we cook plenty of the fillets, but making salmon cakes out of canned salmon after a long day is very delicious and easy route to an excellent supper. We like to spice them up with lots of curry or lemon or ginger. I have recipes, but just as often it is a spontaneous recipe based upon the most accessible spices in my cabinet.

I can literally, embarrassingly, rap on and on about canned Alaska salmon. It is a an amazing food nutritionally. It is pure, with no or negligible contaminants of any kind and it comes from a U.S. resource that has been extremely well managed. Alaska is considered to be perhaps the finest fisheries managers in the world.

Canned salmon, I also like to think, is democratic, because it is reasonably priced and can be found all over this country. I get a special thrill when I send a box of my salmon to South Dakota or to soldiers at APO addresses. Wild salmon, being rich in long chain omega 3 fatty acids also provide nutrients that Americans are generally very deficient in.

Why I Named Our Boat the ‘Marshal Tito’

Marshal Tito was quite a guy.  He successfully fought Hitler in World War II and managed to keep Yugoslavia the most free of the Communist satellite countries during the Cold War.  Slav people were considered sub-human in the Nazi system of belief, and they were in line for extermination as well. It is hard to even write these awful thoughts.  When Tito died in the early 80’s, ethnic war descended upon the peoples of what is now the former Yugoslavia.  This is one famous quote credited to Tito in a note written to Stalin, a man perhaps as maniacal as Hitler.

A note from Tito to Stalin…. 

“Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle (…) If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.”

—Josip Broz Tito

Faced with the prospect of a poor salmon season in 1981, I crewed with some friends of mine for the Togiak (western Bristol Bay) herring fishery. The boat, the Ms B Haven and my friends were primarily Bristol Bay salmon fishermen. They told me that during the  salmon season the numerous Italian and equally numerous Croatian fishermen were always disparaging each others ethnicity on the radio. Finally, an indignant Italian came back with “Name me one famous Croatian, I can name famous Italians all day: there’s Sinatra…” After a long silence someone returned “Marshal Tito.” I had no choice but to name a boat after him. I’m glad I’m not Italian, I’d hate to have to fish a boat called the Sinatra-Jim Zuanich

23 Days of Canned Alaska Salmon-No Mercury

A smiling Jim Zuanich after eating canned salmon 23 days in a row.

Jim Zuanich ate at least 3.5 ounces of Redhead or Thinkpink a day for 23 days at which time he had his blood mercury levels tested. There was no detectable mercury in his bloodstream.  Zuanich also said he loved canned salmon more after he was finished with his experiment, reporting that salmon at lunch made for more energy and a happier outlook than with other foods.  “Nothing compares for lunch,” said Zuanich, skipper of the M/V Marshal Tito.


Blogging for Canned Wild Alaska Salmon


Winifred Raber, Colorado Woman of the West

Canned wild Alaska salmon, humble though it may seem, is one very phenomenal, incredibly nutritious food, with a rich history and a great story.  Canned wild Alaska salmon isn’t just some food scientist’s creation, it is a defining food of our nation’s history.  Salmon canneries were a part of the earliest industrialization of the western United States, providing nutrition for our western pioneers.  Salmon canneries were big business in the old days, with salmon canneries sprinkled up and down the Pacific Coast.


I remember my dear Aunt Winifred talking about loving and eating canned salmon in their remote cow camps in the high mesas of western Colorado.West
Even though they were cattle ranchers, with hundreds of cattle, the lack of good refrigeration made canned Alaska salmon an accessible source of protein, that was the basis of many memorable meals up at the summer cow camp of the Grand Mesa of western Colorado. (

Fortunately, Alaska salmon are still in great abundance.  Alaska’s small population, lack of industrialization, it’s geographic isolation, and excellent, state of art,  biological management happily conspire to make Alaska salmon runs as healthy as they were  100’s years ago.

Additionally, the quality of canned Alaska salmon has improved immeasurably in the past 25 years because most boats now feature chilled circulating  seawater fish holds, thus the fish are kept in prime condition from the time they leave the pure Alaska waters, to when they arrive at the processing plant, hours later.  So for those who last ate canned salmon 30 years ago, you have got a great surprise in store-canned Alaska salmon is delicious and fresh tasting-promise.

I also take comfort, as an ambivalent meat eater, that Alaska salmon live out nearly their entire lives as nature intended. They are captured just before they begin their final journey up a stream.  By carefully monitoring the fishermen’s catch, relative to the fish escapement up the 1000’s of streams,  the  Alaska Department of Fish and Game  optimizes stream and fish health.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is considered to be perhaps the most skilled fish managers in the world.   The harmonious relationship between the commercial fishing industry and the fisheries biologists of Alaska is something to behold, and one wishes that we could all get along as well as the fishing industry of Alaska and the regulators.

20 Cans 20 Days: Sue Kwon’s Award-Winning Mercury Report – Health, Fitness, and Nutrition

Tuna, in our opinion is still a good food choice given the fact it is nutritious, inexpensive and global fish stocks, with some exceptions, are healthy–AND–eat tuna with some knowledge.  This lady deliberately went overboard on eating tuna, but the lesson is still a valuable one….

20 Cans 20 Days: Sue Kwon’s Award-Winning Mercury Report – Health, Fitness, and Nutrition.