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PATTIES MADE FROM CANNED SALMON

Growing up, fried patties made from canned salmon were a staple in my house. They were affordable and went a long way toward feeding a family of five. The low cost was the main reason we chose to taste six brands of canned pink salmon found at local grocery stores. We rinsed the salmon and picked out the visible bones before forming the meat into burger shapes. Instead of deep frying, we sauteed the burgers in a tiny bit of vegetable oil, using no other seasonings. Our panelists loved these. In fact, one judge who has been tasting food for us since Taster's Choice began in 2004, said the canned salmon was among the best items we had ever tasted. From judges who have enjoyed their share of chocolate cakes, frozen treats and cookies on our panel, that was a huge endorsement.

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Product/Score (out of 100) Winn-Dixie 69 Great Value 56 Wild Planet 56 Royal Pink 53 Chicken of the Sea 53
Judges' comments Great, meaty texture, bold seasonings and big chunks of fish made this canned salmon the top pick among our panelists. One judge described the prepared patty as elegant. "It's got great salmon character," she said. "It's moist and sturdy and not stringy." Another said it tasted good enough to serve for a weekday dinner or for entertaining on weekends. These brands tied for second choice because of their freshness. Judges raved about the quality of salmon meat and the smooth flavor of the fish. "This is Salmon Patty Gone Wild!" one judge said of the Great Value brand. Another said he liked the Wild Planet salmon because it didn't taste "fishy." The taste of the salmon overwhelmed these patties, but in a good way. Even a little bread crumb coating likely wouldn't interfere with the strong fish flavor, judges figured. "I like that it's bold, but not spoiled tasting," said one panelist of the Royal Pink brand. Another described the Chicken of the Sea salmon as hearty. "It's very flavorful and it's got a great chew."
Would they buy? All four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information $2.50 for a 14.75-ounce can. $3.28 for a 14.75-ounce can from Walmart. $3.59 for a 6-ounce can from Sweetbay. $2.98 for a 14.75-ounce can from Walmart. $3.48 for a 14.75-ounce can from Walmart.

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Serving size 2.2 ounces 2.2 ounces 2 ounces 2.2 ounces 2.2 ounces
Calories 90 90 70 90 90
Fat/Fiber 5g / 0g 5g / 0g 2g / 0g 5g / 0g 5g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 0g / 270mg 0g / 270mg 0g / 240mg 0g / 270mg 0g / 270mg
Carbs/Protein 0g / 12g 0g / 12g 0g / 12g 0g / 12g 0g / 12g

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Also Sampled: Bumble Bee ($3.28 for a 14.75-ounce can from Walmart, 42 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Clinique of Plastic Surgery in St. Petersburg; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

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