Tis The Season

Ready to cook.

Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon, ready to cook.

Purist. Baked with a dash of fresh ground pepper & sea salt & Tillamook butter to make a light brown sauce. (sometimes I bake it with fresh dill or just garnish with fresh dill.
Purist.
Baked with a dash of fresh ground pepper & sea salt & Tillamook butter to make a light brown sauce. (sometimes I bake it with fresh dill or just garnish with fresh dill.

Nom nom, All gone!
Nom nom, All gone!

I never liked salmon -ever. period. ugh.  And for years my guy got every last bite of this fillet mignon of fish while I stayed stalwart in my stubborn, stupidity. Until 2 years ago.

Instead of turning up my nose and turning down his offer of a taste, I said, “Oh, all right. But you know I’m not gonna like it!”

Really, I’ve never liked fish because it tastes…er…um…fishy.

Well, that night, the poor man was lucky he got even one bite of the entire large fillet!  Lucky he kept his fingers off the pan or he could have lost a couple of digits!

I caught the fever; was a woman possessed!

Seriously, what could I have been thinking?  All those years wasted! I mused aloud to the accompanying music of see-I-told-you smiles on the man’s kisser.

Such a simple preparation as above pictured and it was delectable!

Firm flesh, succulent taste…  And it was all gone before he could blink!

Oops.

We were both so happily surprised that we trotted off to Costco the next day and got another packed-that-day fresh fillet.

Snob that I am now, I know it’s best as near fresh off the boat as possible. Look for and ask about the pack date.

Oh, go ahead; talk to your fishmonger and enjoy the fish tales and info sharing.  You’re part of the community once you try it and like it.

And p.s. they do have it in New York at Costco too. Close to $13.99 /Seattle $9.99 per pound  once into the season.  Way down from anywhere from in between those numbers and $40 per pound at the very beginning of the first runs to hit market in May.

When thinking about how to cook this fabulous fish, I’m still such a newbie aficionado that I can barely bring myself to do anything which might cover up the flavor of this chateaubriand of the purest river around.

I have added, both in baking and broiling and after-plating,  Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salmon Seasoning which has dill, granulated garlic, onion, mustard seeds and paprika and that was deliciouso!  And fresh dill of course with the brown butter is yum with quick pan sautéed fresh green beans in a bit of butter, olive oil & a sash of fresh ground pepper and sea salt…sometimes garlic. I might be tempted into a soupçon of truffle oil on fresh veggies or  yukon gold fingerling potatoes.  Really the sides are kept to a minimum because it is the main event I crave. Yes, you heard me…. cra-crave!

I’m practically booking flights to Alaska to go do what another blogger was thinking of doing…standing at the shore when the boats come in and kissing those fishers of fabulousness with gratitude overflowing for the bounty of creme de la creme gourmet fare.

Though I still don’t much like the grey, near the skin, part of the salmon, I absolutely kvell (gush) and profusely express gratitude for every exquisite fishy that crossed from the pristine Copper river to my plate.

It is a sacred moment as I thank that fish which gave its life for our most immense dining pleasure and sustenance…and for its grace and beauty and out of this ever living world 10 star sweetness!

I bless the river, the salmon and the people who bring them to our stores and tables.

It truly is a labor of love all around…the keeping the river healthy for the fish; the keeping the fish safe and bringing them to market; to our creativity in the kitchens and to our tables to ooh and ahhh over; as we bless, love and express our gratitude for such superior bounty.

I like to say, “Thank you for coming to grace our table and nourish us to optimal health.”

Off season, I have tried Coho and Miso’d that baby up under the broiler.  It was ok but nowhere near Copper River Salmon. And I do not like fish bones….too gaggy for me.

And though there may be some who will think I’m being blasphemous,  I do not care for King Salmon, even from the great and good Copper River.

Now, my dear Tom, who spent a summer in his youth, working in Alaska and the fishing industry; he who has told many a midnight of the sun story,  has got a partner to share his love of his favorite fresh fish.  We do enjoy sharing what we love best with the ones we love best!

So, I, the overwhelmingly converted, may just branch out with the new recipes I’m seeing…perhaps a bit of wine with the butter….mayhaps a dash of lemon if I get brave enough to stray from purist pleasures…add rosemary or tarragon or shallots…swim upstream myself with varying the seasonings…

In briney bliss, I salmon sail and venture forward culinarily!

But only in Copper River Salmon Season.

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One Response to “Tis The Season”

  1. Ray Says:

    Yes, Florence, welcome to an exclusive club.

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