Kachemak Cuisine: Frozen salmon is Alaska fast food

The ingredients are laid out to make Magic Kingdom halibut piccata with fettucine. The dish was inspired by a recipe for swordfish by Sam Sifton in the New York Times. (Photo by Teri Robl)

The ingredients are laid out to make Magic Kingdom halibut piccata with fettucine. The dish was inspired by a recipe for swordfish by Sam Sifton in the New York Times. (Photo by Teri Robl)

It’s the gathering time of year and our freezers need cleaning out to make room for this summer’s harvest and bounty. We are flush on sockeye salmon, but need to get out and fish for more halibut. Time is of the essence. Why is there never enough of it?

Before you know it, the Other Fisherman will be pulling the boat out of the water until winter king season and switching gears to hunting mode. The preparations for the hunting trip take a lot of planning and organizing on his part. I prepare meals for camp that he will take frozen to the secret moose hunting country. His hunting partners tell me the only reason they go to moose camp is for the good food. It’s a lot of work, but that’s incentive enough for me to continue making the dishes which require precious summer time.

As we have plenty of salmon and it’s best eaten when fresh, I enjoy making it often. I call frozen fish “fast food” as I can wait to pull it from the freezer until I get home from work and by the time I gather the ingredients to prepare dinner and pour a glass of wine, it’s defrosted. I fill a big bowl with cool water and add the frozen package of fish.

Summer time is berry time and as they say, “what grows together goes together.” Berries and salmon naturally compliment each other and when berries are at peak season, I can’t get enough of them. Bears as well.

Summer Berry Glazed Salmon

Serves 2

Serve with a fresh green garden salad and some new potatoes in parsley butter sauce for a quick and delicious dinner.

If doubling this recipe use a medium-sized saucepan for the sauce so there is more surface area for the reduction.

Berry Sauce

Ingredients

6 ounces fresh blackberries

6 ounces fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons of a fruity and bold red wine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Pinch salt and black pepper

2 salmon filets or steaks, (about 6 ounces each)

Directions

Preheat grill to medium hot temperature.

While grill is heating up prepare the berry glaze.

Set aside 1/4 cup each blackberries and raspberries for garnish.

Simmer remaining berries and wine in a small saucepan, stirring and crushing berries until juicy, about 5 minutes.

Strain; discard pulp and seeds. Juice should measure 1/2 to 2/3 cup.

Simmer berry juice and brown sugar until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

Season salmon with salt and pepper.

Place salmon on grill flesh side down. Cook for 3 minutes then flip.

Baste with glaze and cook on other side until salmon is cooked through.

Baste again and let rest 5 minutes.

Scatter reserved berries over salmon.

Serve with remaining glaze.

Sunday I was looking for inspiration for dinner and couldn’t seem to get excited about anything in particular. I enjoy reading other published cooking columns, and just as I was about to give up on preparing dinner and eat left-overs, I came across the column Sam Sifton writes for the New York Times sitting in my email inbox. He is a creative writer, foodie and loves to cook. He had a recipe in the column for Swordfish Piccata that inspired me to make with halibut.

I have a chicken piccata recipe I’ve been making for many years now that I enjoy as much to this day as I did the first time I prepared it. The recipe is from a cookbook a coworker brought me back from a vacation in Florida. It includes recipes from the restaurants located within Disney World. I love this treasured cook book for all the excellent recipes in it.

Magic Kingdom Halibut Piccata with Fettucine

Serves 4

I made the original version with chicken breast, which is also very good.

This process goes quickly, so have your ingredients ready and your oven warm.

You may also want to cook your pasta prior to cooking the fish and keep warm.

I like to serve the fish and sauce over fettucine. For 4 servings cook 1-pound box of fettucine.

Warm oven to 175 degrees.

1 ½ pounds halibut filets, 4 pieces, 4 ounces each

*Flour mixture to dust filets with.

½ cup Wondra flour (makes for a finer, thinner crust) comes in a blue can

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon Johnny’s seasoning

Sauce Ingredients

¾ cup butter

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 ½ cups chicken broth (I dissolve chicken soup base in boiling water)

½ cup fresh lemon juice

¾ cup dry white wine, such as Chablis or Fumé blanc

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons capers (optional)

¼ cup green onion, sliced, green part only or fresh chives

Parsley for garnish

Dust fish with flour mixture on both sides.

Melt butter in a shallow skillet and add floured fish. Sauté until just golden brown and flip, about 2- 3 minutes each side. Remove from pan and set in the dish you plan on using to serve fish in. Cover with foil and place in warm oven.

To the pan you cooked the fish in, add sliced mushrooms, sprinkled with a little sea salt and sauté 2-3 minutes.

Carefully add chicken broth, lemon juice, wine and Dijon mustard being careful not to spatter hot butter.

Gently stir to incorporate ingredients and bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat and slowly simmer about 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to reduce liquid to half the amount first added to pan.

Add capers and green onion or chives to sauce.

Return fish to pan and simmer gently until fish is cooked through, 2-5 minutes depending on thickness of filets. Place in serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve over fettucine noodles.

Pour yourself a glass of the white wine you used in the sauce and enjoy.

*Note: call me before you prepare this and I will join you, as this is one of my favorite dishes of all time. I’ll even bring the wine.

Magic Kingdom halibut piccata with fettucine was inspired by a recipe for swordfish by Sam Sifton in the New York Times. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Magic Kingdom halibut piccata with fettucine was inspired by a recipe for swordfish by Sam Sifton in the New York Times. (Photo by Teri Robl)

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