Sockeye Salmon Crudo

Sockeye Salmon Crudo

Sockeye Salmon Crudo, Two Ways

Sockeye Salmon Crudo

The bright red-orange color of sockeye salmon flesh comes from eating plankton and krill while they are in the ocean. Fans of wild Alaska salmon appreciate the sockeye variety for its deep rich flavor, delightful fatty texture, and gorgeous striking color.

I recently joined Sitka Salmon Shares, a community supported fishery, where we share in the catch of Alaskan small-boat fishermen using low-impact gear that respects the ocean and its sea life. This month we received a box of Sockeye Salmon with fish from both Prince William Sound and Bristol Bay.

The dense, firm flesh makes sockeye a great fish for serving raw. And because it’s blast-frozen, Sitka Salmon is all sashimi-grade. They say, “The on-boat standards our fishermen follow, short boat trips, and individual handling of our fish ensures the quality demanded by any raw preparation. But it’s the blast-freezing process that kills parasites that could be in the fish, which would otherwise be killed by heat in cooking.”

Alaska

Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Crudo Recipes

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Copper River Sockeye Salmon, Pink Peppercorns

copper river sockeye, copper river salmon, pink peppercorns

Pan-Seared Copper River Sockeye Salmon, Pink Peppercorns
Blistered Shishito Peppers

The celebration continues! Taste With The Eyes is 4-years-old and we’re splurging with Copper River Salmon. The most expensive fresh salmon is only available for about four weeks of the year, from mid-May through mid-June, when the King salmon swim up the Copper River in Alaska to spawn. At our local Bristol Farms Market, Copper River King Salmon was selling for $50/lb.! At $50/lb. the 8 oz. filet in the photo above would have cost $25. Market factors such as commercial harvest, supply and demand, plus the cost of oil have pushed the price from $40 last season to this all time high of $50.

Even for the crème de la crème of salmon, this price is out of range for most people (myself included). In fact, after speaking with the fishmonger at the market, I learned that they were unable to sell their entire shipment of Copper River King at that price, and some had tragically gone to waste. The good news was that Copper River Sockeye sales went way up, as folks were introduced to this smaller, more plentiful species of salmon. Some say that sockeye has the truest pure salmon flavor and is preferred by aficionados.

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Salmon with Cantaloupe, Horseradish Vinaigrette


Fresh Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Cubed Cantaloupe, Drizzled with Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Horseradish Vinaigrette, Crispy Fried Shallot
Embellished with Celery Leaves and Lime Zest

served with
Andrew Rich 2008 Roussanne Columbia Valley

We had spied this magical salmon recipe in the July issue of  Food & Wine magazine on our flight to Portland, Oregon. I was hooked just reading about the pairing of salmon with cantaloupe, but it was the horseradish vinaigrette with fresh lime juice, brown sugar, and fish sauce that put it over-the-top. And as it turns out, a friend in Portland had just returned from Alaska with her catch of sockeye salmon.

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Bejeweled Salmon

Fresh Wild Kenai River Sockeye Salmon
Roasted with Creme Fraiche
Over Emerald Seaweed Salad
Topped with Coral Ikura

Seaweed Salad: Mix bright green seaweed with a small amount of toasted sesame oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. To get the skin extra crispy, I put the salmon skin-side down over a sizzling hot teaspoon of olive oil in a ovenproof sauté pan and sear on the stove top over high heat for a few minutes.

Then top the salmon with crème fraîche and finish by roasting in a 400° oven. Serve over the seaweed salad, top with ikura (salmon roe). The terrific idea for roasting salmon with crème fraîche is not mine. I read Molly Wizenberg’s story of her father’s Alaskan fishing trips in Bon Appétit, and being a big fan of this French cultured cream, I thought I would try her method. The charming story can be found here.

Bejeweled Salmon: Coral & Emerald
Alaskan salmon, prepared French/Japanese fusion style, has bright clean flavors, a variety of interesting textures, and is a visual stunner!

Cedar Plank Salmon

Fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon
Grilled on a Cedar Plank
Brown Sugar Mustard Rub

Soak the cedar plank in water for a minimum of 2 hours. You will need something heavy to weigh down the plank to keep it submerged. Fire up the grill, heat the smooth side of the plank directly over the flame. Turn the plank over and brush olive oil on the smooth side. Place the fish, skin side down, directly on the hot plank.

I prepared this fish first by mixing olive oil with a squeeze of lemon juice and rubbing that on the fish, then seasoning with salt and pepper.
When the plank was ready, I placed the fish on the plank and coated it with a mix of course-ground Dijon mustard and brown sugar.

Grill on high heat, close the lid and cook to desired doneness. This fillet took about 15 minutes. You need to keep on eye on the grill as the cedar can catch fire, if it does, douse with some water. I had soaked the plank for about 3 1/2 hours and it did not catch fire. I did turn down the heat directly under the plank however.

Using a long-handled spatula, lift the plank off the grill and place it on a heat-proof platter. Serve the fish directly from the plank.
You can visit my new blogger friend, Fishmonger Ran, at Don’t Fear Fish for more details on Cedar Plank Cooking.
Great presentation! Wonderful cedar-y aromatics! The fish is subtly imparted with the true deep flavors of the wood. Can’t wait to try this method with other fish, meat, and vegetables!

My Julia Child Floribunda Roses

August 15 is Julia Child’s birthday. In celebration, Lisa of Champaign Taste blog has hosted the Third Annual Julia Child Birthday Event. Please visit Champaign Taste to watch Julia make an omelette on The French Chef (oh, the memories) and to see the delicious ways other bloggers celebrated Julia’s birthday. Thanks again, Lisa!