If you are loving raw fish like we are here, definitely put Sashimi-Quality Sockeye Salmon on your list.
The more raw salmon I prepare and serve, the more I prefer the Sockeye species. There are five species of Pacific salmon that can be found in North American waters – king aka chinook, sockeye aka red, coho aka silver, keta aka chum, and pink aka humpback.
Sockeye salmon have a beautiful bright red flesh that is bold and intense and flavorful. Its dense, meaty texture facilitates the cutting of lovely raw thin slices. The leaner flesh of sockeye balances and harmonizes with rich citrusy olive oil emulsions. Sockeye + Crudo = A Winning Combination!
The past month has been very special. We were celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, 15 years of Taste With The Eyes, 3 years of living in Las Vegas, and the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen (remembering my mother’s trip to London for the Coronation in 1952).
The highlight of our celebrations was an exquisite dinner at Joël Robuchon’s eponomous Three Michelin Star restaurant at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. The entire experience ranks as one of our finest meals, ever. It was French Perfection.
The “Chef of the Century” sadly passed away in 2018, but his restaurants certainly keep his artistry, passion, and spirit alive. A single framed photo of the late Chef graces the credenza at the entrance to the restaurant.
The world-class restaurants, with a concentration of the world’s best chefs, were one of the many reasons I was excited to move to Vegas. They are now just 21 minutes (get it?) from my house! Of all the great ones, Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand is the crown jewel.
The Pierre-Yves Rochon art-deco Parisian apartment décor is swathed in plush hues of purple. The space exudes the same type of elegance found on the plate — we were inspired to savor every moment with all the senses. Trolleys were overflowing with breads and cheeses and mignardises. The impeccable service, opulent décor, unparalleled brilliant dishes….all made for a truly unforgettable evening.
One of my most cherished creative outlets is to re-create historical events through food. Presidential Inaugural Luncheons in 2013 and 2017, Julia Child’s First Meal in France in 1948, and Dinner in Julia’s Cambridge Kitchen, are a few examples of many of my favorite re-creations. (See all the links below).
For this celebration, I am RE-Creating the restaurant in my home atelier and preparing a Salmon Crudo in a style in which I think the Chef would approve.
Our monthly seafood subscription from Alaska arrives in a smart environmentally responsible box. Shipped to us in Las Vegas, the fillets have always been rock-hard and frozen-solid due to the great packaging using -110°F dry ice.
When the box arrives, it always has a few small slabs of dry ice still intact. It was fun to use the remaining dry ice to present a piece of the fabulous Alaska sockeye salmon served sashimi style.
Sockeye Salmon Sashimi
Garlic, Shallot, Olive Oil
Chili Crunch, Edamame, Tamari, Lemon
Smoked Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Since dry ice must be used soon after delivery, defrost a beautiful piece of sockeye using the “quick-thaw” method.
Remove skin and pin bones from the salmon and slice sashimi style. Arrange on a piece of slate chosen to fit over the dry ice display. Serve with chili crunch, edamame, and tamari in small bowls on the side. Also place lemon wedges and smoked Maldon sea salt flakes for serving, on the platter.
Finally, when ready to display, drizzle olive oil down the middle of the salmon and top with thinly sliced shallot and minced garlic. Orchids make a nice presentation too, while edible, they are here mainly for show.
Roasted Sockeye Salmon with Pepita Pesto Charred Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar Roasted Delicata Squash with Honey and Lemon
Sitka Salmon Shares, an Alaskan direct-to-consumer seafood company, paired with Chef Paul Kahan, the two-time James Beard Award winner behind popular Chicagoland restaurants avec, The Publican, and Big Star for a Virtual Cooking Class featuring their wild Alaska sockeye salmon.
Guests received a meal kit for two shipped to their door plus a code to cook virtually alongside Paul, and Culinary Director Perry Hendrix. The cost was $149 plus shipping. There was a generous amount of product in the shipment, enough to feed four, making this a delightful gourmet experience a very reasonable cost per person. And it was especially neat to spend time with one of Chicago’s great gregarious chefs in his own kitchen.
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.”