Choose among five types of salmon for your next Lenten dinner.

Salmon sales soar during Lent. Not long ago, the fish came in two types, canned and fresh. The breed of the fish was invisible to shoppers, even though it’s important to taste.

Today’s salmon comes with plenty of flavor choices. You may need to check with your butcher for your preferred choice as salmon often is sold simply as “salmon.”

The top five are:

1. Chinook: Wild caught, Pacific, among the most expensive. Often labeled best-tasting of the breed due to high fat content. Rich flesh ranges from white to deep red. Great on the grill slightly wood-smoked.

2. Sockeye: Another premium that turns dark red as they move upstream to spawn. Expensive and strong in flavor, perfect for stovetop sautés in butter and white wine.

3. Coho: Bright silver skin and red flesh. Tastes similar to Chinook but texture is more delicate, often used in salads and en papillote (baked in parchment).  

4. Pink: Most common of the Pacific wilds. Flesh is very light colored and low fat, mild flavor, often broiled with herb rub or marinade.

5. Chum: Least flavorful compared to others, most often canned, flesh is pale with the lowest fat content of all salmon. Warning: deeply discounted salmon could be chum.

Note that wild-caught salmon are all Pacific. Atlantic salmon sold in stores are nearly all farm raised.

THE BEST RECIPE
The French know their fish, and the classic French recipe embraces the en papillote method of cooking. In America, it’s called “in envelope” cooking.

It’s almost impossible to overcook fish in parchment. The paper locks in the steam and flavor. The fish remains a beautiful color with a flavor balanced with herbs (most often fresh dill), butter and drips of dry white wine.

SALMON STEAKS EN PAPILLOTE
4 salmon steaks, 1-inch thick, skin on
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix wine and chicken stock, whisk in melted butter to emulsify. Brush both sides with marinade. Place dill sprig on each steak. Wrap each in parchment paper or aluminum foil. Seal and bake for 15 minutes in 450-degree oven. The fish is done when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Serve with saffron rice and fresh fruit slices.

Serves 4.