Summer is in full-swing and Alaskans are busy entertaining guests, fishing, gardening, and working hard to make sure our tourists enjoy the southern Peninsula. This last week, the Other Fisherman and I hosted our son and dear friends who were visiting from the east coast.
We gave them a generous dose of hospitality and had fun playing on Kachemak Bay. We prepared them fresh seafood and dined out in many of Homer’s wonderful restaurants. Their vacation stars were lined up and they experienced gorgeous weather, saw twin moose calves with their mother up close for an incredible picture opportunity, caught nice sized halibut on a sunny, calm day in the bay, went flightseeing on a bluebird day viewing the beauty of Alaska wilderness, walked on the beach and did all the things tourists enjoy doing in paradise here. They departed a few pounds heavier and with lots of pictures and good memories.
My visiting friend loves to spend time in the kitchen preparing tasty things to eat as much as I do and I enjoyed her sharing dinner preparations with me. She contributed some wonderful dishes to our gourmet dining experiences. We share a love of shopping for fresh and special ingredients, preparing and eating great food, wine, cookbooks and friendship.
The Other Fisherman hit the early morning dip-net sockeye fishery across the bay. Our guests enjoyed fresh grilled salmon perfectly cooked with nothing more than a light brush of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon more than once. They brought fresh sweet corn with them and it perfectly complimented many of our seafood dinners.
Local Kachemak Bay oysters on the half-shell with hot sauce and lemon and steamer clams poached in butter and herb infused wine sauce were on the menu. They also enjoyed deep-fried ling cod and halibut, marinated, pan seared and oven roasted black cod, boiled Prince William Sound spot shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce and a big mound of steamed king crab with melted butter.
When you have leftover grilled salmon, make this extra quick dinner. Feel free to vary the aioli with fresh herbs of your choice, such as basil, tarragon or parsley. My friend enjoyed using fresh herbs I had growing on the deck often in our dinner preparations.
Pasta Salad with Grilled Salmon and Herb Aioli
½ lb. fusilli pasta, cooked
Toss cooked fusilli with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Chill well in a large, serving bowl.
1 lb. salmon filet, grilled and cut or broken into pieces about 1 inch in size
1 large red bell pepper, grilled and diced into ¼ inch size pieces
1 large yellow bell pepper, grilled and diced into ¼ inch size pieces
6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grilled or roasted peppers develop a delicious sweet flavor when roasted.
Toast the peppers on your grill over medium-hot heat, turning frequently until all the skin is blackened and crisp. Place the peppers in a plastic or paper bag for 10 minutes to allow them to sweat, then peel off the skin. Halve the peppers and discard the stems and seeds.
Combine salmon, grilled peppers, green onions, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium size bowl. Adjust seasonings and refrigerate.
1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely minced
Blend mayonnaise with garlic and rosemary.
6 cups mixed young greens, washed and dried.
Toss chilled fusilli with aioli, then gently fold in salmon mixture.
Serve on a bed of mixed greens.
To drink: a light-bodied red, slightly chilled, or an Italian white wine such as a Verdicchio, or even an inexpensive sparkling wine such as Spanish cava to play off the richness of the salmon and garlicky mayonnaise.
I enjoyed preparing fresh halibut for dinner for our guests with halibut we caught on the bay earlier that day. We dined on fresh seafood every lunch and dinner they ate while here.
Pineapple is a nice compliment to halibut. Basmati rice and grilled zucchini are perfect sides to serve alongside.
Grilled Halibut with Pineapple Salsa
½ fresh pineapple peeled, cored, and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
½ lemon, juice and zest
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Combine pineapple, apple, 1 tsp. ginger, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper flakes. Stir well, cover, and let stand to allow flavors to blend.
4 halibut filets, about 5 ounces each
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
½ lemon, zest only
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 tablespoon minced chives
Lightly oil the fish. Lightly salt.
Sprinkle filets with ginger, zest, pepper and chive blend.
Heat the grill to high and oil the grates well just prior to placing halibut filets on to cook.
Grill the fish, turning once.
Serve with the pineapple compote on the side.
Enjoy with a glass of unoaked chardonnay or a Chenin blanc, viognier blend.
Right now, the farmers market is bursting with fresh locally grown produce and local gardens are doing well. I am impressed by the effort our local eateries extend to buy and serve local products. Take advantage and enjoy the flavors of fresh and locally harvested, caught and raised ingredients, as you can taste the difference and our community will appreciate it and thank you as much as your body will.