Friday, August 21, 2015

Coho Salmon with Pistachio + Herbs

Coho, or silver salmon, is not as rich as a sockeye, so this super flavorful topping is a perfect match. The earthy herbs and sweet nuttiness of the pistachios is a winning combination. The butter makes it decadent. Really packs a powerful taste, and our taste-testers were unanimous in saying it was fantastic. This is a quick recipe, and the herb mixture can be made ahead so it's a perfect dish to impress guests! ~Audrey & Patti 
2 Coho salmon fillets
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup butter, room temperature and cubed
1/2 cup fresh herbs, (basil, Italian parsley and dill are nice)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup raw pistachios
Salt and pepper

Serves: 4-6

Gather your ingredients, cut salmon fillets into serving-size portions. 

Place butter, herbs, garlic and pistachios into a food processor. Puree just until a nice pesto-like sauce develops.

Pour white wine in your baking pan. Add salmon, leaving a little space between each piece. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and cover each piece with some of the pistachio-herb mixture and pop back into the oven for about 5 more minutes. Internal temp should read 145 degrees, but remove at 140 degrees or when it flakes easily - there is carry-over cooking and you want it moist.

This goes nice with a rice pilaf.

Note: If you have a bit of the herb mixture left over, blend with some mayo for a quick aioli on side- your taste buds will be in heaven.

At Jim Creek, in the MatSu Valley, Alaska - where the Coho (silver) salmon featured in this recipe was caught. That's the Knik Glacier is behind us!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Our Easy "Grilled Salmon" Stock

This is not an exact science or even the traditional stock method. It is a down and dirty version meant to give you a quick and flavorful stock you can use right away. For more intense flavor, we like to grill our salmon carcasses. Also, feel free to use vegetable scraps - stock is the perfect way to use them up. ~Audrey & Patti

4-5 char-grilled salmon carcasses
4 carrots, rough chop
1/2 onion, rough chop
6-8 celery stalks, chop
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
8 cups water

The 1-2-3's of a quick stock:
1. Put first 8 ingredients in stock pot over low heat. 
2. Cut a piece parchment to your pot size, rub with butter and cover everything in the pot. This acts as a lid that allows air in. Sweating lets flavors release without actually cooking the veggies, it just softens them. Sweat for about 5-10 minutes.
3. Add water and wine and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Skim off any scum. Strain. Discard everything but the liquid. There you go, easy fish stock!

Audrey filleting salmon and saving the carcasses.

Lay out carcasses over a hot grill. If you don't have a grill, just place carcasses on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees in your oven for about 10-15 minutes, turning once.

Salt and Pepper. How beautiful does this look?

Grill 5-10 minutes per side.

Grilling adds the perfect charbroiled flavor to the salmon.

After cooling, simply pull off all the meat and use in Sockeye Salmon Chowder, Salmon Cakes, or even on a salad...the possibilities are only limited by your imagination:) You easily get 2 cups of bonus salmon off of each carcass.

So don't throw those carcasses away any more! Seriously. 

Sockeye Salmon Chowder

This is a lighter, brighter version of fish chowder, not as thick and heavy as usual, but still full of flavor. It is what you could call a 'summer' chowder. It makes use of the root veggies we have coming up now in Alaska, as well as the extremely flavorful meat from the grilled carcasses of sockeye salmon. If you have not taken advantage of this method of utilizing the entire fish, you are missing out. How To Grill Salmon Carcasses ~Audrey & Patti
2 cups cooked salmon, flaked
4-1/2 cups fish or chicken stock
1 cup half & half
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 cup onion, small dice
1 cup celery, small dice
1 cup carrots, small dice
3 medium potatoes, small dice
3 fresh corn cobs, kernels removed
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh or dry dill to taste 

Serves: 4-6

In large stock pot, sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic in butter, just until softened.

Add 4-1/2 cups chicken or fish stock. Here is our 
Easy Grilled Salmon Stock recipe.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid on, about 20 minutes until veg are fork tender.

Add salmon, 1/2 & 1/2, corn kernels, squeeze of lemon and dill.
  (1 Tablespoon dried or 5-6 fresh sprigs) 

Heat through. 

Tip: If you want it thicker, make a roux out of stock and flour. We added about 1/2 cup of roux to this batch. 

Garnish with dill sprigs or chives

A nice piece of french bread on the side is a nice addition as well - enjoy!

We used the salmon from the grilled carcasses to make this chowder.
It gave it a nice, almost smokey flavor. Of course, regular cooked salmon works just as well.

Our day's catch of sockeyes - we limited out :) 

My husband says you have to pose like this if you catch
 on a fly rod...especially
 when you catch a beauty like this!

No cat fights here, just salmon fights - hehe. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Salmon Cakes

These salmon cakes were inspired by an Ina Garten recipe. They are so moist and packed with flavor, they are sure to be a hit as appetizers or a main course at any get-together. Audrey was visiting me in Palmer when we decided to make these after a successful day of fishing for Sockeye Salmon. A couple of my husband's friends stopped by and my dad joined us. It was raves all around! We used salmon from the carcasses we grilled - instructions here - and veggies I grew. It was an Alaskan meal all around. We cooked these outside in a cast iron skillet over a grill (just for fun) and they came out perfectly. But cooking these indoors on the stove is the traditional method and works just as well. ~Patti
1 pound cooked salmon, flaked
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced small
7 stalks celery, diced small
1 whole red bell pepper, diced small
1 small zucchini, diced small
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
2 tablespoons rinsed capers
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup Panko crumbs

Serves: 6-8

We grilled our salmon carcasses and used the meat off the bones. Here's a quick link to see how easy it is: 
How to grill salmon carcasses

A quick way to made short work of all the dicing: place onion, celery, bell pepper, zucchini and parsley into a food processor. Pulse quickly into a small dice. Drain all moisture (there will be a lot) from veggies before sautéing.

Melt butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, zucchini and parsley mix to pan, along with the capers, Worcestershire, hot sauce, Old Bay seasoning and salt & pepper to taste. 

Cook over medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes until veggies are soft. 

Remove from heat, place in a stainer over a bowl and cool. You want as much of the liquid to drain out as possible or else your salmon cakes will fall apart when you grill them.

After completely cool, combine everything together and mix well. The mixture should hold together well and not crumble apart.

Shape into 3 inch cakes and chill in refrigerator for about an hour.

Fry in olive oil over high heat - not smoking but hot enough to make the cakes sizzle when added. They take about 4 minutes per side to get golden brown. 

Patti, wearing heat resistant gloves, which is necessary for cast iron on a grill - but literally both gloves we had were for a left hand! 

Seeing how nice these turned out made me think how easy it would be to whip up the ingredients at home and take them to grill on a camping trip.

As they come out of the frying pan you can stack on an oven safe plate and keep warm in oven (about 250 degrees) until ready to serve.

Serve with your favorite sides. Here we show three beautiful salmon cakes with garlic sautéed kale.

Audrey and I showing off the Sockeye Salmon we caught fly fishing on a beautiful August day in Palmer, Alaska. This is the life for sure :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How to Grill Salmon Carcasses

Don't waste those salmon carcasses! With a little forethought and time, you can salvage so much meat off these babies you will be amazed...and delighted. 

After the fish has been filleted, cut off the head (discard if not using) and rinse the carcass with cold water. Set aside.

Oil the grates of your grill, then get it up to temperature - very, very hot! 
Lay salmon carcasses directly over flame. 

Sprinkle with salt and pepper (one side is plenty).

Using tongs and/or a spatula, check for doneness. Takes about 5-6 minutes per side. You want a nice char and color, but don't cook them to death - a little moistness is nice.

Set on baking sheet and let cool.

Once you can handle them, simply pull off all the meat.

It doesn't take long and before you know it you have piles of gorgeous salmon, flaked perfectly for chowders, dips, salmon cakes...or just nibbling. 

Seal and freeze if not using right away...and feel good about yourself for using up every little bit of this amazing fish!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grilled Salmon with Mustard & Lemon

Simple ingredients like mustard, lemon and garlic turn a regular salmon fillet into a fresh summery meal. If you're short on time and want something delicious to eat, this is the recipe for you. Enough said! :) ~Audrey

1 salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
stone ground mustard
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh lemon juice
fresh parsley 
lemon slices
salt and pepper to taste

Serves: 4

Combine mustard, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. The nice thing about this recipe is you're not constrained to specific measurements. You just want to mix up enough to coat the salmon to your liking.

Generously rub on salmon.

Top each piece of salmon with fresh lemon slices.

Grill, skin side down until done. I placed my salmon on a hot grill and covered for about 5 minutes. I used a thermometer and cooked until the salmon had an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

 This recipe gives the salmon a nice combination of fresh lemon and char-grilled flavor all in one. 

Here I am on the Copper River showing off my first sockeye salmon of the season during the summer of 2015.