Romancing the Salmon is a story about a hike done once upon a time in the Alaskan Panhandle near Juneau. It was the season for sockeye salmon to return to their spawning grounds. Sockeye salmon is Pacific wild Salmon, and belongs to the species Oncorhynchus. It is a species that usually dies after spawning once (unlike the Salmo species, to which Atlantic salmon belongs). For the full travel story Romancing The Salmon click here.
Below are two recipes for fresh Pacific wild sockeye salmon.
Sockey Salmon and Roasted Beetroot Tartare
200 gr fresh Sockey salmon (skin removed)
1 small beet, roasted, peeled and grated fine
1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
t tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped caper apple (or capers)
3-4 cornichons, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
a few drops of good quality olive oil
all above ingredients are to taste: adjust accordingly!
Mix all ingredients except salmon together in a bowl and leave to marinate for about an hour (or until ready to use but no more than 2 hours). "Mince" the salmon fillet by hand, chunky or fine to taste. Mix in with the marinated ingredients. Season to taste and serve immediately.
Lemon & Dill Cured Sockeye Salmon
This is not an exact-measurements recipe. Depending on the size of fillet you have, you need to adjust the amounts of sugar, salt, dill, and lemon. I have made this recipe also using a mix of citrus peel, chopped lemongrass, and coarsely chopped koriander.
2 pieces of salmon fillet, equal size (roughly 300gr each)
1/2 cup coarse salt
1 cup raw cane sugar (you can use caster, but I prefer this unrefined sugar)
1 bunch of fresh dill, sprigs only
a tablespoon of black peppercorns, crushed coarse
grated peel of a lemon
- Mix sugar and salt together. Add the peppercorns, lemon peel and torn dill.
- Spread a piece of clingfoil on the kitchen counter.
- Spoon a layer of the salt-sugar mix, place one piece of salmon skin-side down on it
- heap a generous amount of salt-sugar mix on the salmon and place the other piece on top, flesh-side down (like a sandwich)
- heap another amount of salt-sugar mix to cover the skin-side of the top salmon piece
- wrap in clingfoil and place in a tray. Put a light weight (a can of beans, for instance) on top.
- Put in the refrigerator to cure for minimum 5 and maximum 7 days. Turn every day.
- After 5-7 days, the salmon is ready: scrape off dill and lemon
- the liquid that appears as the salmon cures are the pickling juices. Very tasty, you can add a dollop of mustard to turn it into a little sauce to serve with the salmon.
- slice the salmon thin and serve
Ingredients always deserve to be treated with love and respect, and all the more so for ingredients that come from the wildest heart of mother nature. Here also, sustainability is key. Sockey salmon can only survive if measures are taken when numbers are low. Legal fishing, limitations in numbers caught, protection of its natural habitat (including their breeding grounds) will sustain its numbers.
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