Thursday, May 5, 2011
Product Review: Trader Joe's White Salmon Alla Checca
While recently checking out the frozen fish at my local Trader Joe's, I came upon this little package. White Salmon Alla Checca, or Wild Salmon Fillets Marinated with Herbs & Spices. In addition to the white salmon (which I've never tried, or even heard of), the ingredients listed tomato, lemon juice, garlic, leeks, shallots and basil. All those things sounded good to me and I'm always on the lookout for quick and tasty dinner options so decided to give it a try.
The package is sold by weight and the nutrition facts said the servings per container varied so I wasn't sure how many fillets I was buying. But $8/pound didn't seem ridiculous to me. Is that high? For an American product? It says it's a product of the USA so I hope that means the salmon is American, too.
It turns out that the package contained two fillets, separately wrapped, which was greatly appreciated. I like to buy frozen fish at Trader Joe's because they're committed to sustainability efforts in seafood (more information available here). My only complaint is that when I usually buy frozen fish, there are more pieces in the package than we'll eat for one meal. So I either have to thaw the whole thing and then re-freeze the extra piece(s), figure out how to separate only the ones I want and just thaw them or (shhh!) throw out the extra piece. If I get lucky, there's only one small extra piece so I don't feel too guilty about wasting food.
So back to the white salmon. Each piece in the package was a little under 8 ounces so I opted to cook just one for me and Bob to share. That may not sound like a lot, but he's not a big fish eater, and I planned on serving it with at least a couple of vegetables, plus a salad. But I always forget that most things shrink when they cook, so even for Bob, it wasn't very much. Thankfully tomorrow's another day and another meal.
And the verdict? As in, how did it taste? The fish was OK, but I wouldn't buy it again. The checca/sauce part was pretty blah. Like with so many other frozen entrees I've tried, I know I could do better, with very little effort. Even some canned tomatoes and dried herbs would have been more exciting. In fact, I have a recipe that's pretty much exactly that - and it's really good. So when I decide to cook the remaining fillet, I'll definitely add a few things to jazz it up. And in the mean time, I'll stick to the plain fish in the frozen food aisle.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, my cooked fish didn't look nearly as pretty as the picture on the package. So no glamour shots for you. I have, instead, a pic of the frozen fish, still in its individual packaging. Enjoy!