Sunday, September 20, 2015

Yuck! What does anyone see (or taste) in farmed Costco salmon?

A PALE IMITATION IN THE OVEN: Costco Wholesale in Hackensack now carries farmed salmon raised without antibiotics, but the fillets' pale color and bland taste are disappointing.

Editor's note: Don't you hate it when food stores run out of your favorite items or their computers aren't updated to give you the sales price at the register? Here are a couple of recent examples.


The wild-salmon season is nearing an end, but that's no excuse for Costco Wholesale in Hackensack to run out of those wonderful sockeye fillets, as the warehouse store did on Friday.

I could have purchased another wild-caught fish, but had my heart set on salmon, and was drawn to a farmed Atlantic salmon raised without antibiotics that I hadn't seen before at Costco.

Drug-free farmed Atlantic Salmon from Norway was $8.99 a pound, above and below, the same price I've been paying for wild-caught sockeye fillets from the United States that are deeper in color and far tastier.

Tomatoes, wine, mint no help

Unfortunately, the artificially colored farmed fish is skinless, as well as boneless, so I didn't want to grill the half-dozen serving pieces on the stove top, as I've been doing with the wonderful wild sockeye from Costco.

So, I added fresh lime juice and a little sea salt, and popped then into a preheated 375-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I opened a can of Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes, and added them to a small pot with red wine and seasonings, turning up the heat -- with the cover slightly ajar to prevent splatters -- and reducing the mixture until it thickened. 

The finished dish looked great, and the fish was moist under its rich mantle of tomatoes and wine, but also bland and lacking in flavor. 

My conclusion is that farmed salmon is for people who know fish is good for you, yet don't like the bold taste of wild sockeye.

And, sadly, people who eat only farmed salmon may think healthy food can't taste good, too.

Costco closes, then re-opens

The Hackensack Costco I've been shopping in for nearly 20 years is closing on Oct. 13.

A bigger store is scheduled to open on Oct. 14 about 3 miles away in the Teterboro Landing Shopping Center on Route 46 in Teterboro.

The Teterboro Costco will carry private-label Kirkland Signature wines, champagne and prosecco, and have a gas station.

Farmed Atlantic Salmon with a reduction of organic diced tomatoes and red wine, garnished with chopped fresh mint and Aleppo pepper, above. This morning, I used leftover fish to fill wraps made with thin whole-wheat pocket bread, a garlicky hummus, tomato slices and za'atar thyme mixture, below.

Two 44-ounce jars of Classico Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce, which has less than 2% of added sugar, were on sale at ShopRite in Paramus for $6.19 with a store card. The "Club Size Savings" and "No Membership Fees" are references to such warehouse stores as Costco Wholesale.

Also on sale at the Paramus ShopRite were 24-ounce jars of Classico Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce for $1.49 each, but the store's register wasn't updated and that delayed what I had hoped would be a quick shopping trip. Unlike Tomato & Basil, the Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce has no added sugar.

Price mix-up at checkout

Do I expect the ShopRite in Paramus and every other store to update their computers when they put food on sale?

Of course, but on Friday morning, I got stuck at the checkout register while a manager went to the shelf to see if two jars of pasta sauce were on sale for $1.49 each, as I said they were.

I took a photo of the Classico Spicy Red Pepper jars and the shelf tag showing the reduction to $1.49 from $2.39, but that wasn't good enough for the man who was summoned over when they rang up at the higher price.

He had to see it with his own eyes.

When he returned, he gave me one jar for free and rang up the other one at $1.49. I thought both should have been free, but I guess the store was saying my time isn't that valuable.

I had planned a quick stop on the way home from the gym to recycle plastic bags and buy sweet potatoes.

But the store had no conventional sweet potatoes, so I bought organic whole-wheat pasta and bottled pasta sauce to avoid a total waste of time.

At Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood, 2.2-pound bags of Gimoka Whole Coffee Beans from Italy were only $9.99 last Wednesday, less than half of the usual price for beans from Lavazza and other companies.
Jerry's was out of restaurant-quality Meals To Go, complete takeout dinners with an entree, vegetables and pasta that can be plated and re-heated in a microwave. This fresh artichoke salad came with Grouper Oreganata, a dinner I bought for my wife a few weeks ago. The dinners are $7.99 ($5.99 after 4 p.m., if there are any left).

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