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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #82: Salmon

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Salmon.png

Salmon.  From Japan to Scandanavia and Scotland, from the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic seaboard, wild or farmed, salmon is served on tables around the world.  Salmon has provided sustenance and cultural meaning for thousands of years. 

 

In the Sahaptin language of Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, the word for salmon used in sacred ceremonies is “wy-kan-ush.” Combined with the word “pum,” meaning people, the tribal cultures of the Columbia River Basin are often referred to as “Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum” or “Salmon People.”

 

Each year in late spring anticipation builds for the start of the annual Copper River salmon runs in Alaska.  Alaska Airlines stages a grand affair to welcome the annual fishery.  The first Copper River Salmon is flown to Seattle on a chartered flight where local Chefs compete right at the airport to create new dishes using this legendary Pacific Northwest salmon species. 

 

In Norway, salmon is pronounced “laks” or “lakse.”  The Norwegian heritage fosters a deep respect for the natural environment, especially the sea, the crystal-clear waters of the fjords, and their inhabitants. (According to the Norwegian Seafood Council, Norway is the second largest exporter of seafood in the world, sharing sustainable wild-caught and ocean-farmed seafood with more than 150 countries).

 

Now, salmon does present us with a problem…a good problem: how to choose among all the great ways to prepare and serve salmon?  I reckon that’s a pretty good problem to have!

 

Raw in sashimi or sushi, grilled on alderwood planks over an open fire, salted, brined, cured and then smoked, lox-style on a bagel, encased in pastry ala the Russian “coulibiac style,” or poached in a light fish stock accented with tarragon, salmon provides us with endless recipes and cooking techniques.

 

With that introduction, we invite you to join us in eG Cook-Off #82: Salmon where we’ll share recipes and stories of salmon.

 

Read the complete eG Cook-Off Index here

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/

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Oh yes.  Love salmon.  Very much. 

 

Ed does a lovely lime flavored salmon which we eat almost once a week with baked potatoes.  We also eat salmon salad made from canned wild Pacific salmon.  Both cost an arm and a leg these days, but are well worth it.

 

Love smoked salmon.  Am awaiting @Nyleve Baar's trip to Toronto for a special salmon treat.  In the meantime I've found one of Costco's Norwegian smoked salmons to be acceptable.  And I've made Gravlax once using Nyleve's recipe.  Delicious.  Ed won't touch any of this.  Such a shame.  :sad:  I have to eat it all myself.  :P

 

Definitely my favorite fish (when not battered, deep-fried accompanied by mounds of French Fries.  Then it's cod for me.)

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Oddly enough, I detest cooked salmon in all forms, but raw, cured or minimally seared, I quite enjoy it.

 

Gravlax is at least a once a year (typically New Years) occurrence in our house.  Typically made in a Scandinavian style, served with a balsamic/caper/dill sauce.

 

Over the weekend I got some organic Irish salmon that I seared quickly, sliced sashimi style and served with a ponzu/spring garlic/ramp sauce - it was very well received.

 

 

Edit - Darienne - if you ever want something shipped from Toronto, let me know (I am guessing City Fish Vodka Smoked Salmon!? :) )

 

 


Edited by TicTac (log)
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Posted (edited)

I grill salmon fillets 2 or 3 times a week.  Every week, year round.   I buy fresh salmon, one side of a large fish that I have the seller fillet.  I bring it home and my DH cuts it into roughly 12-16 oz pieces that we share for one meal (IMO, grilling unskinned or too small pieces results in drier outcome). 

 

Rinse and pat dry.  Season only the non-skin side.  I use my standard rub or you can sprinkle with equal amounts salt, sugar and paprika (maybe 1/2 to 3/4 tsp each on a 16 oz piece,  I am guessing???  Then to taste, decent sprinkles (1/4 to 3/8 tsp each) of black pepper, cayenne, oregano, thyme, onion and garlic powders.  

 

Preheat gas grill to 400 degrees.  When at 400 and it has more than 1 burner, turn the burner(s) under the salmon to low and keep the other(s) at 75%  If you have only 1 burner, turn to 1/2 to 3/4 power.  Your temperature should hold between 375 and 415, mas o menos.

 

Place salmon skin side down, shut the lid. 

 

Leave it alone for appx. 8 minutes per inch thickness.  Then turn off all the burners, flip salmon to skin side up and leave it on grill for 3 minutes per inch thickness.  Plate and very loosely cover with foil.  Let sit a full 5 minutes per inch thickness.  

 

We normally serve with or over a simple arugula salad or a cold couscous salad (w/ dried cranberries and pecans and green onion) ether with a simple lemon/dijon vinaigrette.   We serve a dipping sauce for the salmon. normally a cherry-chipotle sauce, once in a while a chipotle mayo, each whipped up in under minute.  


Edited by gulfporter (log)
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My absolute favorite salmon dish is from Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France, "Salmon Slices with Fresh Oysters" (and mushrooms and crème fraîche and a lot of butter). My second favorite is salmon topped with fresh morels cooked in butter, then white wine, then cream, with tarragon. In fact, a few days ago I put the morels on top of some sauteed chicken livers. And then I ate them.

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I went back into our archives and looked at another one of our Cook-Off's, #59, Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish.  We've got a lot of different salmon dishes in that Cook-Off. 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/142515-cook-off-59-cured-brined-smoked-and-salted-fish/

 

Last week I prepared one of my salmon dishes from the Cook-Off which is a salad with salmon gravlax.  Well, in that cook-off I went through the steps of making salmon gravlax from scratch.  It's an easy process but takes a lot of time.  Last week I used store-bought gravlax.  I took the easy route this time and dusted the salmon with some spices and  Aquavit. The dish is basically a composed salad and  the only cooking is blanching asparagus.  The annual WA asparagus harvest started three weeks ago and it's a good crop this year.  We're getting local asparagus for $1.79 a pound so I didn't mind spending some money on the gravlax. Once the Copper River salmon starts running in Alaska in early June I'll make my annual salmon gravlax.

 

Spiced Salmon Gravlax with Aquavit, Asparagus and Rye Croutons.

salmon gravlax 2.jpg

  • 6 oz. sliced Nova-style salmon
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed juniper berries
  • 2 slices black or dark rye bread
  • 8 spears of fresh asparagus
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 2 tsp. chopped chives
  • 2 tsp. fresh chive blossoms
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Aquavit
  1. Place the slices of gravlax in a wide casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix together the caraway, fennel, black pepper and crushed juniper. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon lox. Cover the dish with cling film and let the salmon sit for 30 minutes.

  2. After 30 minutes, gently rinse the spices off the gravlax and set aside while you prep the asparagus and rye croutons.

  3. Heat the oven to 375. Cut the crusts off the rye bread and then cut the bread into small croutons. Spread the croutons on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast the croutons until they are firm, about 10 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place the croutons in a dish to cool.

  4. Heat a large saucepan of water to the boil. Trim the stalks of the asparagus using a vegetable peeler and cut off the woody ends. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the asparagus and cook just until it's tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the asparagus and plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the asparagus, then cut it into 1" pieces, then cut those pieces in half lengthwise.

  5. To assemble the salad, place two of the thin pieces of gravlax on a plate. Place some of the asparagus spears around the gravlax, then some of the rye croutons. Sprinkle some of the chives, chive blossoms and lemon zest around the gravlax. Drizzle some of the lemon juice, olive oil and Aquavit over the gravlax and serve.

     

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3 hours ago, Darienne said:

Ed does a lovely lime flavored salmon which we eat almost once a week with baked potatoes.  We also eat salmon salad made from canned wild Pacific salmon.  Both cost an arm and a leg these days, but are well worth it.

 

Love smoked salmon.  Am awaiting @Nyleve Baar's trip to Toronto for a special salmon treat.  In the meantime I've found one of Costco's Norwegian smoked salmons to be acceptable.  And I've made Gravlax once using Nyleve's recipe.  Delicious.  Ed won't touch any of this.  Such a shame.  :sad:  I have to eat it all myself.  :P

Darienne - I have been seeing sides of wild sockeye salmon at Peterborough Costco, alongside the farmed salmon fillets (evil evil evil) in the refrigerated fish case. They're either defrosted or still frozen, vacuum sealed. I bought a couple the other week and had one - it was very good, and a very good price.

 

Will not purchase farmed salmon as my son is a fisheries biologist in Nova Scotia, working to somehow save the wild stocks which are not doing well. When I ask him how things look, he tells me that he will be a witness to the extinction of the Atlantic salmon in that province. Fish farms are part of the problem but, admittedly, not the entire problem.

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20 minutes ago, Nyleve Baar said:

Darienne - I have been seeing sides of wild sockeye salmon at Peterborough Costco, alongside the farmed salmon fillets (evil evil evil) in the refrigerated fish case. They're either defrosted or still frozen, vacuum sealed. I bought a couple the other week and had one - it was very good, and a very good price.

 

Will not purchase farmed salmon as my son is a fisheries biologist in Nova Scotia, working to somehow save the wild stocks which are not doing well. When I ask him how things look, he tells me that he will be a witness to the extinction of the Atlantic salmon in that province. Fish farms are part of the problem but, admittedly, not the entire problem.

Thanks Nyleve, Ed has bought just that at Costco.  (Oh, he does the shopping now.  Life moves on...)   

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I'm not a big fan of fresh salmon. It tastes too "fishy" for me. But I do love smoked salmon, gravlax, and there's just nothing better than salmon croquettes. They make me feel like I'm 8 years old again, as they were a standby in our house.

 

I make a decent smoked salmon spread with cream cheese, crushed caraway seeds, dill, and just a teaspoon or so of gin to loosen it up to good spreading consistency. If I'm feeling flush, I'll top it with domestic caviar. It's also great with sliced boiled egg.

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Oh we love salmon, too.

 

David, you're going to force me to order from Pike's Place one last time before the heat sets in so I can participate in this :)  

 

I don't think I've ever seen salmon in the fish dept. at the big city grocery store --and if I did, I bet it's farmed.

 

As I said above, I get some from Pike's Place once or twice a year.  Big splurge, but cheaper than flying there myself lol.  I haven't gotten super creative.  While I'm trimming it up, I eat the trimmings raw (cook's treat).  I like to sear in a hot hot hot skillet with butter, skin down and then a flip.  We like ours rare (I like mine more rare than Ronnie so mine is really rare when I don't accidentally over cook it 🙄)  Sometimes I make a caper butter sauce to pour over.  I like the acidity of the capers with the fish.  If there are leftovers I like to use them to make onigirazu for breakfast the next morning.

 

Oh and dang it, Ronnie doesn't care for salmon skin so I have to eat all of his :) 

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Oh we love salmon, too.

 

David, you're going to force me to order from Pike's Place one last time before the heat sets in so I can participate in this :)  

 

I don't think I've ever seen salmon in the fish dept. at the big city grocery store --and if I did, I bet it's farmed.

 

As I said above, I get some from Pike's Place once or twice a year.  Big splurge, but cheaper than flying there myself lol.  I haven't gotten super creative.  While I'm trimming it up, I eat the trimmings raw (cook's treat).  I like to sear in a hot hot hot skillet with butter, skin down and then a flip.  We like ours rare (I like mine more rare than Ronnie so mine is really rare when I don't accidentally over cook it 🙄)  Sometimes I make a caper butter sauce to pour over.  I like the acidity of the capers with the fish.  If there are leftovers I like to use them to make onigirazu for breakfast the next morning.

 

Oh and dang it, Ronnie doesn't care for salmon skin so I have to eat all of his :) 

 

I order from the place next door. They aren't throwing fish around and will cut it whatever way you ask.  I just received a notice that they are taking orders for copper river salmon (king and sockeye).

 

We went to the Olympic Peninsula for a wedding one time and stopped at the stall at Pike Place Market. We got a whole salmon cut into steaks and packed to travel. People were raving about the salmon when I cut out the bone, tied it into a "burger" then grilled it up.  We have ordered some sent to us on the east coast a few times. Unfortunately, we sibned up with Cape Ann Fresh catch and they have salmon equally as good.


Check the two of the out:

Pure Food Fish Market

Cape Ann Fresh Catch


Edited by dans (log)
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35 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Oh we love salmon, too.

 

David, you're going to force me to order from Pike's Place one last time before the heat sets in so I can participate in this :)  

 

I don't think I've ever seen salmon in the fish dept. at the big city grocery store --and if I did, I bet it's farmed.

 

As I said above, I get some from Pike's Place once or twice a year.  Big splurge, but cheaper than flying there myself lol.  I haven't gotten super creative.  While I'm trimming it up, I eat the trimmings raw (cook's treat).  I like to sear in a hot hot hot skillet with butter, skin down and then a flip.  We like ours rare (I like mine more rare than Ronnie so mine is really rare when I don't accidentally over cook it 🙄)  Sometimes I make a caper butter sauce to pour over.  I like the acidity of the capers with the fish.  If there are leftovers I like to use them to make onigirazu for breakfast the next morning.

 

Oh and dang it, Ronnie doesn't care for salmon skin so I have to eat all of his :) 

Here's a tip from a native Pacific Northwesterner.  Resist buying Copper River salmon when it hits Pike's Place in late May or early June.  The public relations and marketing of the Copper River salmon has exploded the price in about the past 15 years.  There are many other wild salmon that run up the rivers in June that are just as good.  And we prefer the silver or sockeye salmon (we use some different names).  The "king", (we call it by the Native American name "Chinook,"), doesn't have as much oil as the silver salmon.  The Chinook is good in any saute or grill dish, but the silver is the best in my humble taste opinion for smoking and gravlax.

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A few years back I started making a Japanese style breakfast of grilled salmon, steamed rice, pickles and maybe miso soup.  Now I crave that breakfast more than any pancake or waffle.  Sometimes I'll salt the salmon a day in advance.  As we go along I'll share the recipes.

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

I'm not a big fan of fresh salmon. It tastes too "fishy" for me. But I do love smoked salmon, gravlax,

 

Same here, the taste/texture of cooked salmon is not to my liking.  I like it sushi raw and gravlax only.   I want to try the Chefsteps mi cuit treatment, but not in any hurry.  

 

I love ikura, I could eat buckets of it.  In fact, lunch today was a small jar of salmon roe.  Whole Foods has it as one of the prime member big discounts this week.

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we are very fond of salmon - and good salmon can be tricky to get.  supermarkets normal have only the farmed stuff, which is marginal.  sometimes they have wild caught sockeye - but only 'from frozen' and freezing definitely affects the quality.

 

but we do have a  fish monger in town.  excellent quality, big prices, never frozen....

farmed Scottish is almost always on the table - and it is far superior to the supermarket farmed stuff, wherever they get that from....

 

mucking too much with salmon basically covers up the flavor.  here's salmon steak (a fav) stuffed with scallop, and a onion/sweet pepper medley on pan seared&oven finished....

salmon.jpg

IMG_0944s.JPG

SalmPepp_s.jpg

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For years I've been watching Chef Michel Troigros craft his siganture salmon dish with sorrel sauce.  I think I could pull it off fairly well-the salmon is cut thin and only touches a hot pan for less than a minute.  The challenge for me will be to find fresh sorrel.  I've seen it a few times at one of the few upscale markets we have but I'll venture out and see what I can find.  Maybe our farmers market will have sorrel once they open in a few weeks.

 

 

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arugula would work well if you can't find sorrel.

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13 minutes ago, AlaMoi said:

we are very fond of salmon - and good salmon can be tricky to get.  supermarkets normal have only the farmed stuff, which is marginal.  sometimes they have wild caught sockeye - but only 'from frozen' and freezing definitely affects the quality.

 

I have wondered about the differences between fresh salmon and frozen.  Amazon often offers both, with a price premium for the former.  You don't have concerns about parasites that may be killed by freezing?

 

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Posted (edited)

if you're going to consume it raw, then freezing is recommended - required by law in commercial settings (probable unknown exceptions...)

sushi is typical so thin sliced or small cubed the difference in texture from freezing is not nearly so noticeable.

 

cooked is not such an issue.  the FDA, which specializes in ashen foods, recommends 170'F - but I don't go that high.

fisheries like the Scottish salmon industry are zealous about their reputation and reportedly have extensive inspections in place.

'wild caught' by some one some where . . . . that one might wish to cook to the higher temps.


Edited by AlaMoi (log)
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We don't like cold-smoked salmon (lox)....it's not the taste, it's the mouth-feel.  Slimy to both of us.  Now, HOT-smoked salmon we buy weekly from an expat couple here in Ajijic (they are from Belgium). 

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On the wild v. farmed debate, I buy both.  Didn't used to buy farm-raised, but the horrendous practices of salmon farms are mostly a thing of the past.  They have literally cleaned up their act.  Many large retailers now buy solely from salmon farms certified by the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council).  Seafood Watch of the Monterey Bay Aquarium recently upgraded ASC farmed salmon to the status of "Good Alternative" to wild caught. 

 


Edited by gulfporter (log)
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12 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

arugula would work well if you can't find sorrel.

 

While it might work well, it is a totally different beast!

 

Sorrel is one of springs heralds, it is up in my garden already and a batch of sorrel sauce will be made soon.  While arugula has a very nutty taste, sorrel has an extremely lemony flavour and is a perfect accompaniment for salmon.  Some young spring garlic, good olive oil, sorrel and a bit of water is all that is needed!

 

Plant some in your garden and let it go to seed, it spreads really well and can also be eaten raw in salads (a fantastic bright fresh note).

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My hubs went on a fishing trip to AK several years ago - great time was had! Many salmon were caught! (many) also Halibut ... he shipped home 145lbs of salmon (cleaned /filleted) and 50lbs of cleaned / filleted Halibut ... we gave away many pounds and we ate many pounds ... many many pounds ... he has not eaten Salmon or Halibut since ... a tragedy.

 

When I was able to still eat fish - I would eat the heck out of Salmon - love it! Every time hubs even smells it, though - he gets a little green. 

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Some past salmon meals.

 

Gravlax

0191.thumb.jpg.03330b81994c43bb0d16c448382d66e3.jpg

 

Miso salmon

 

745752316_011(3).thumb.jpg.05d3c6b429676201df3092edf4e60b66.jpg

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

Some past salmon meals.

Miso salmon

 

 

That miso salmon looks good. What were the other glaze components?

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