Kachemak Cuisine: Keep Alaska caught fish tasting fresh

The Homer Chamber of Commerce Winter King Salmon Derby is this weekend, a yearly fishing tournament anticipated by anglers who will be trying their luck at bringing home a hefty purse and fresh king. I thought I’d share a recipe for salmon as we look forward to enjoying some fresh caught winter king salmon that will be coming across the docks.

I still believe the best way to prepare a fresh caught king is to brush on a bit of olive oil, sprinkle on a little salt and pepper and cook that beautiful coral colored filet on the barbecue until it’s barely done. Brush a little melted butter over it and serve immediately. The clean, sweet taste of Alaska with a silky texture and perfect bite is pure bliss after a long winter of eating frozen fish.

This combination of creamy crab filling and salmon complements each other and make for a very special dish. I’d serve it with a green salad and a celebratory glass of bubbly.

Crab Stuffed Derby Salmon

Serves 4

2 lbs. Alaska salmon (skin removed) — king or sockeye

For seasoning blend:

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. lemon zest

½ tsp. dried dill or 2 tsp. fresh dill minced

1 tsp parsley flakes

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Melted butter

Add the pepper, salt, lemon zest, dill, parsley flakes, and minced garlic, mix. Add the oil, mix.

Turn salmon filets upside down. Brush the bottom with seasoning blend.

Turn salmon back over and cut the salmon into four equal pieces. Make a slit in the middle of each salmon (don’t cut pieces all the way through the flesh; you want a little pocket for stuffing.)

Distribute the rest of the salmon seasoning between the pieces of salmon coating all areas.

Brush tops of filets generously with melted butter.

Crab stuffing

8 oz. crab meat cut into pieces about ½- inch diced

1 celery stick minced very fine

1 ½ Tbsp panko

1 ½ Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated mozzarella or 4- cheese blend

¼ tsp Frank’s hot sauce

½ tsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Add all of the ingredients for the crab stuffing in a bowl and gently blend.

Open salmon slits and stuff with crab stuffing. Do this to all four pieces. Add the rest to the top but keep the stuffing together in the middle. Sprinkle some freshly grated pepper, paprika and parsley flakes atop all if you would like.

Bake covered with foil 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 350F. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or more depending on thickness of salmon. Be careful not to overcook it.

Years ago, a friend and I went to Maui and discovered a charming restaurant in Makawao. If you ever get to this beautiful island paradise and can make a trip to Chef Bev Gannon’s Hali’imaile General Store, it’s worth the trip.

Chef Gannon’s first cookbook is the most dog-eared, used cookbook in my collection. I’ve made many of her recipes and each one has been delicious. I feel like she is a friend of mine, even though I’ve never met her. This salad is a favorite of mine.

HM General Store House Salad

¼ pound of mixed fresh greens. Baby salad greens are nice.

24 canned mandarin orange segments

½ cup toasted walnuts or any nut you prefer

½ sweet Maui onion, thinly sliced

½ cup crumbled blue or gorgonzola cheese

Optional additions – fresh berries, thinly sliced pear.

House Dressing

This makes extra and keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. I usually halve the recipe.

¾ cup olive oil

¾ canola oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

To prepare the dressing, combine the oils in a pitcher and set aside.

Combine the remaining dressing ingredients in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the oils blending until smooth.

In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with ¼ cup of the dressing. Divide among four chilled salad plates. Divide the oranges, walnuts, onion, and cheese evenly on top of the salads. Serve at once.

The addition of fresh Alaska salmon in fried rice is delicious, nutritious and colorful.

Alaska Salmon Fried Rice

Recipe adapted from Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

Serves 4

1-1/2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice (or 4 cups cooked)

Salmon:

12 oz. Alaska skinned salmon fillets

juice of half a lime

1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil

Eggs:

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons grapeseed oil

Vegetables:

2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

2 green onions, sliced on the bias

1 cup frozen petite size peas

1/4 cup carrot shreds

¼ cup red bell pepper cut into match stick size pieces

1-2 tablespoon oyster sauce

Cook rice according to package directions; keep rice warm.

Salmon: Blend lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Brush onto salmon. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add salmon and cook just until fish is opaque throughout. Cool slightly; then break into chunks. Set aside.

Vegetables: In a large wok or nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry one minute. Stir in peas, carrots and red bell peppers and continue stir-frying one minute.

Push vegetables to one side of pan; add 2 teaspoons oil and eggs, then scramble until almost cooked. Remove from pan to serving size bowl. Drizzle a little oil into pan over high heat and add rice. Cook one minute, or until slightly crispy. Return vegetables and egg to pan. Add oyster sauce, then gently stir in salmon and green onion.

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