Smoked Salmon – The next best thing to fresh

While the fresh salmon season is winding down, it doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your craving for salmon. Smoked salmon is one way to go. And it is easy to go beyond the usual smoked salmon and cream cheese with lemon juice served on bread. In fact, there are all kinds of recipes out there for smoked salmon that are easy to make and mouth-watering to boot. When you get that smoked salmon, go ahead and step outside the canape box. You won’t regret it.

Having guests over and want to prepare something tasty yet easy to make? Try this spring roll recipe using smoked salmon:

Asparagus & Salmon Spring Rolls

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Ingredients

Spring Rolls

  • 24 thick or 36 thin asparagus spears (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 3- to 4-ounce packages smoked wild salmon
  • 12 8-inch rice-paper wrappers (see Notes)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 24 slices
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste

Preparation

  1. To prepare spring rolls: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large skillet. Trim asparagus spears to no longer than 6 inches; add to the boiling water. Partially cover and cook the asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain; refresh under cold water. Cut each spear in half lengthwise. Cut salmon slices into 12 strips no longer than 6 inches each.
  2. Soak one wrapper at a time in a shallow dish of very hot water until softened, about 30 seconds. Lift out, let excess water drip off and lay on a clean, dry cutting board.
  3. Center a strip of smoked salmon in the bottom third of the wrapper, leaving a 1-inch border on either side. Arrange 4 thick (or 6 thin) asparagus spear halves (overlapping as necessary) over the salmon. Top the asparagus with 2 avocado slices, 1 tablespoon shredded carrot and about 2 teaspoons each basil and mint. Fold the wrapper over the filling and roll into a tight cylinder, folding in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Cut each finished roll in half.
  4. To prepare dipping sauce: Whisk soy sauce, orange juice, lemon juice, mirin and crushed red pepper in a small serving bowl. Serve the rolls with the sauce.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap in parchment or wax paper and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  • Notes: Rice-paper wrappers are translucent, round sheets made from rice flour. They need to briefly soak in warm water to make them soft and pliable before using. Find them in the Asian section of large supermarkets or at Asian food stores.
  • Mirin is a low-alcohol rice wine essential to Japanese cooking. Look for it in the supermarket with other Asian ingredients. An equal portion of dry sherry or white wine with a pinch of sugar may be substituted.

Nutrition

Per roll: 102 calories; 3 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 3 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 6 g protein; 2 g fiber; 370 mg sodium; 263 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (44% daily value), Folate (19% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 fat

H/T to EatingWell.com

Copper River Salmon

It’s once again time for Copper River salmon, a highly sought after fish for markets and restaurants. Every May, around the 15th, the first salmon of the season return to the rivers and streams of Alaska with the Copper River being one of the first. King, Sockeye, and Silver salmon embark on their long journeys up the ‘Copper to spawn and lay their eggs. In fact, the arrival of fresh Copper River king and sockeye salmon is a rite of spring in Seattle.

So why does the Copper River salmon generate so much excitement here in the Pacific Northwest? Here’s a little background:

The Copper River derives its name from the rich copper deposits found along the riverbank. First used by the Alaska Native population, and later by settlers of the Russian Empire and the United States, this massive body of water has 13 major tributaries, is a mile wide and runs at 7 miles per hour. Dropping an average of 12 feet per mile and draining 24,000 square miles, it is the 10th largest river in the United States.

It is up this intense river system that the salmon must travel 300 miles to reach their spawning grounds, which requires extra stores of omega-3 fatty acids that make Copper River salmon some of the most prized salmon in the world. The fillets are bright red with limited visual fat lines and has a lot of flavor and a slightly firmer texture.

The end of the Copper River salmon season is around June 15th.

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Try this recipe:

Blackened Cajun Salmon

Caution: Do not attempt inside. Very smoky.

Ingredients

  • 6 salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil

Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Mix all seasoning ingredients together. Sprinkle seasonings liberally over salmon filets.

Outside, on a gas or charcoal barbecue grill, heat a cast iron skillet until it is very hot (smoking). Place seasoned salmon along with a small pat of ghee or coconut oil in the hot skillet. Sear for 2 minutes, then turn, using another pat of ghee or coconut oil to blacken the other side.

The Fishmonger on Salmon #1

WILD SALMON

There are five species of wild salmon. King/Chinook, Sockeye/Red, Silver/Coho, Chum/Keta, and Pink/Humpie. There are obvious differences amongst these species. Kings, Sockeyes, and Silvers are the most common sold at today’s markets.

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King/Chinook salmon are the most sought after salmon. Their high fat content attributes to wonderful flavor and moist texture. Kings are the largest of the salmon species. They weigh between 4-35+ pounds, and have a streamlined appearance. They should have black backs and silver bellies with fully developed fins. The tail should be “fan like”. Most whole Kings arrive to market head on with no guts or gills. Look for hook marks on the heads, as most kings are “hook and line caught”. Fillets should be firm to the touch and have a red orange flesh with defined fat lines.
pic_sockeye
Sockeye/Red salmon are known for their bright red flesh. These salmon are smaller than Kings with an average size of 4-10 pounds. They are bright silver with a black to blue back. Sockeyes will have fully developed fins and the tail will be slightly thicker at the base. These fish are “gill netted” when caught, therefore they arrive to market headless and gutless. The fillets are bright red with limited visual fat lines. the fish has a lot of flavor and a slightly firmer texture.
pic_coho
Silver/Coho salmon look similar to Sockeye salmon. They are a little larger and sizes range from 6-14 pounds. They are bright silver with less coloron their backs. Their fins should be fully developed, and the tail should be slightly wider at the base. Silvers are also “gill netted”. They arrive to market headless and gutless. The flesh should be more orange than red. Flavor is slightly stronger and texture will be slightly firm.

Alaskan Halibut

The first fresh Alaskan halibut of the season is now arriving at your nearest fish market so it’s good time to get a jump on this fish that is renowned for its mild flavor and firm yet flaky texture.  Halibut is easy to grill or cook on the stove, and the perfect fish for thousands of recipes. Here’s an easy one to try:

Capers and Halibut:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (8 ounce) steaks halibut
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons capers, with liquid

Directions
capershalibut
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the halibut steaks on all sides until nicely browned. Remove from pan, and set aside.
2. Pour the wine into the pan, and use a spatula to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine reduce to almost nothing, then stir in the garlic, butter and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for a minute to blend the flavors.
3. Return the steaks to the pan, and coat them with sauce. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish immediately with the sauce from the pan poured over it.

Drink Suggestions for Halibut
Now just what does one drink with halibut prepared with this recipe?  In our opinion, any lighter red or most whites will do, but if you really want to enhance this meal, we suggest a more delicate white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc.  Try a local Sauvignon Blanc from Washington or if you really want to splurge, you can move up to a Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France.  These wines generally have bright citrus flavors and good acidity, but aren’t too fruity or heavy on your palate.

There are so many ways to go when serving up a versatile fish like halibut. Just about any recipe will do. Enjoy!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Oyster Recipe

As a seafood lover, there will always be a lot of different options to try. The more adventurous may be willing to go for something like geoduck, monkfish or sea urchin. For others, sticking with the tastes of the more well known, salmon or halibut, is the only way to go. For those wanting to try something new without taking too big a leap, there is always the option of trying oysters. You may be a little suspicious but you’ll probably change your mind when you try them in this recipe:

Garlic Oyster Linguine

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 24 shucked oysters, quartered
  • 1/2 cup whole corn kernels, blanched
  • 2/3 cup French-style green beans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento peppers
  • 1/2 cup seafood stock
  • 10 ounces fresh linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 4 ounces crabmeat

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine. Stir in flour to make a paste. Set roux aside.
  2. Saute mushrooms, Cajun spice, and garlic in 1/4 cup butter or margarine over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add oysters, corn, string beans, and pimento. Saute for 1 1/2 minutes. Add stock and linguine, and bring to a slight simmer.
  3. Fold in roux until sauce thickens, then reduce heat. Fold in parsley and scallions. Fold in lump crabmeat, and heat through. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Allrecipes.com

Bonus Oyster Fun Fact:
The word Ostracized is derived from oyster In very ancient Roman times, in order to banish one from a Kingdom, the village elders would vote. Their ballots consisted of oyster shells- cup up meant you could stay in town. Cup down… See ya!