Did you know that there are seven species of Atlantic salmon? I didn’t know at first, and frankly, I just ordered salmon when I saw it on the menu at most restaurants. But, it’s worth knowing the key differences between the types of salmon — especially when it comes to flavor.
If you have only just come across keta salmon, you might be looking to learn more about fish and have some questions ready. One we’ve seen asked often is: What does keta salmon taste like?
Keta salmon has a mild flavor that most people enjoy. It still offers hints of oil and sometimes almost a light buttery flavor. It’s also a very lean source of protein.
Keta salmon is a very diverse dish that can be enjoyed as a fillet, from a can, dressed, smoked, and even just the roe (eggs) it provides. We highly recommend it to those who haven’t tried it!
We cover the following items in this post:
- What Is Pacific Keta Salmon?
- Why Is It Called Chum Salmon?
- What Does Keta Salmon Taste Like?
- Is Keta Salmon a Good Salmon?
- How To Cook Keta Salmon
- Final Thoughts: What Does Keta Salmon Taste Like?
What Is Pacific Keta Salmon?
Pacific keta salmon is a smaller salmon species with a decreased fat content. It is sometimes referred to as chum salmon, dog salmon, or even silverbite salmon. Keta salmon is part of the Pacific salmon genus and they can be found in the North Pacific, British Columbia, Japan, Alaska, Korea, California, and the Russian Far East.
Many people opt for keta salmon because of its decreased amount of fat and small size. There are no salmon species leaner than keta.
It only averages about 8 pounds and 24-28 inches in length. Compared to Atlantic salmon, keta salmon has the following nutritional value:
- Atlantic Salmon: 6 ounces, 351 calories, 37.5g protein, 21g total fat
- Keta Salmon: 6 ounces, 260 calories, 44g protein, 8g total fat
As you can see, it’s a leaner option that also provides more protein and fewer fats than Atlantic salmon.
Why Is It Called Chum Salmon?
The name “chum salmon” comes from the term “tzum.” Tzum is a Chinook Jargon word that means something is marked or spotted.
Chinook Jargon is a pidgin trade language from the Pacific Northwest.
What Does Keta Salmon Taste Like?
Like other salmon species, keta salmon is mild in its flavor. It’s not overbearing and can pair well with various seasonings.
Keta can have a slightly oily and almost buttery taste, with a bit of citrus at times — very similar to other salmon cuts. Although milder overall and with less oiliness compared to other cuts, the taste is still very nice.
The texture of the meat is firm and lean.
However, keta salmon roe is a popular delicacy. You can find it online with ease, and it’s an extremely popular version of roe due to its nice flavor, longer shelf-life, and the way it bursts when you eat it.
It should never taste overly fishy or strong. If it does, the fish has gone bad and shouldn’t be eaten.
Is Keta Salmon a Good Salmon?
We say yes, as all salmon can be good salmon!
Fresh keta salmon is very enjoyable, and these fish are sometimes selected for roasting and grilling or are even served fried.
However, they are known as chum salmon because they have historically lacked the desirability of many other salmon species. They still taste good, but they are slightly less flavorful and often overlooked by many in the salmon industry.
It’s worth noting that chum salmon is often found in frozen or canned form in markets across the country.
How To Cook Keta Salmon
You can cook keta salmon as you would other kinds of salmon. Baking it in the oven is a particularly popular method. This ensures that the salmon gets fully cooked without drying it out, especially if you wrap the fish in foil before you start baking it.
It will probably take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook, depending on the size of the fillet and the heat of the oven. We recommend cooking at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. We love this simple yet delicious recipe if you’re looking to cook the salmon in the oven.
You can also pan-fry keta salmon or cook it into a sauce or as part of another dish. You can follow these directions if you’re looking to pan-fry the fish.
Final Thoughts: What Does Keta Salmon Taste Like?
Keta salmon is a bit mild and very lean, but still offers a nice subtle flavor that isn’t overly fishy or strong. It can be well-complimented with seasonings and sauces, like lemon, garlic, butter, parsley, and olive oil.
Just don’t let the nickname “chum salmon” throw you off. This fish can still be a delicious option, and we feel it is enormously underrated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Keta Salmon as Good as Sockeye?
It depends on what you value, but most people prefer sockeye salmon to keta. Sockeye salmon has more flavor and oils in it, but this can make it a bit fatty, and some people find its taste overpowering. If that’s the case for you, you might prefer keta salmon.
Keta salmon is versatile because of its mild flavor, which makes it suitable for a wide range of dishes. It is the leanest kind of salmon, making it a very healthy option, and it has a great texture, with firm, pink skin.
Which salmon is preferable depends on the individual judging the two. We believe both are great options!
What Is the Tastiest Salmon?
Many people think that Chinook salmon, sometimes called king salmon, has the best flavor. The fish is very fatty and contains a lot of omega-3s. It is rich and enjoyable – but it isn’t always easy to get hold of.
If you can’t get it, many people consider sockeye salmon a close second, and this is significantly cheaper. Chinook salmon tends to be more expensive, while sockeye tends to be more reasonably priced.
Does Keta Salmon Smell Different?
It should not have a strong scent or a very fishy aroma. If it does, this indicates that it has gone bad.
Keta salmon, like other popular salmon species, should be rather mild, and without a strong scent when kept properly. If the keta salmon has already spawned, it may throw off its smell and flavor.
Is Keta Salmon Farmed?
Yes, they can be. Not all keta salmon is farmed, as many are wild-caught, but there are definitely keta salmon farms.
Does Keta Salmon Have Bones?
Like all fish, keta salmon has bones, although these tend to be removed before the fish is packaged and sold. This is particularly true if you buy canned keta salmon.