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Copper River Salmon


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It'll be here on Thursday (or Friday or Saturday).

How will you guys be cooking it?

I'm grilling it on the Q and maybe using my John Howie plank (www.plankcooking.com). As for adornment? Maybe some salt. Maybe some pepper. Maybe a squeeze of lemon. It doesn't need much.

Also, can people start eyeballing prices and list them here? Some places really overcharge, especially for the sockeye. I'm not paying $18 a pound for CR sockeye. Maybe for King though.

I'm keeping my eye out to see how restaurants are serving it ... and what they're charging.....

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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I'm not sure how much of which type of CRS I'm going to buy, but I will definitely be drinking Pinot Noir with it.  There's an inexpensive red Burgundy that I've been enjoying from QFC (I make Beef Burgundy with it as well as drinking it), and I find that Pinot Noir with salmon is a cliche for a darn good reason.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Will you share what brand of Pinot it is?

Kathy

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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It's Bouchard Pere & Fils La Vignee 2000.  Currently $9 on the dreaded card.  They also carry the Coron pinot noir, which I usually drink when I go to Cafe Campagne.  It's about $10.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Grocery card haters aren't going to like this....but Safeway's ad this morning has fresh Copper River Sockeye Salmon Filet for only $6.99/lb  May 24 though May 27 (4 days only).  Last week they had fresh Wild King Salmon at $4.99/lb, and although they were out when I went, I did get a rain check.  I have a hard time turning away from prices like that, and am not bothered if they want to track that I like salmon.   Yesterday I finally was able to stop at Admiral Thriftway for a sample taste of their CRS in the Kiosk, and wouldn't you know, the Chef (from Sazarac) had already left early, so I didn't get any.  I forgot to check the price there.  I believe Safeway's price was $15/lb yesterday for CRS fillet....but only $6.99/lb come Friday!

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Last night at the heyjude house, I was charged with preparing a beautiful 2.5-pound slab of Copper River king fillet.  I prepared it according to a method I learned from Mark Bittman.  Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat with a drop of vegetable oil.  Salt and pepper the fish well and place it skin side up in the pan.  Brown it for one minute, flip it, and transfer it to a 500 degree oven until done to your liking.  This piece took about 11 minutes--I like my salmon medium, a little further than most people will tell you to take it, but still noticeably pink in the center.  We served it with roast asparagus and egg noodles, and that cheap burgundy, which I thought was perfect but my father found too acidic.  He did not have any complaints about the fish, which had everyone moaning in delight and declaring, "The skin's the best part!"

If they can figure out how to grow these things with skin on both sides of the fillet, I'd buy that.

The QFC deal has now been moved onto the Advantage card, FYI.

I'd like to do a side-by-side comparison of wild BC king salmon and Copper River.  I guess I'll apply for one of those NEA grants.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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We had Copper River Sockeye fillet last night.  I kept it really simple, just seasoned w/ S&P and pan fried it on Med. high heat in a couple tablespoons of canola oil, about 3 min. each side, and squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on it.  Perfect.  Later on I prepared Wild Fennel Salmon Gravlax with the remaining fresh salmon.  Hope it turns out ok (new recipe).

mamster, thanks for letting us know about the Bittman method.  I only recently even heard of him (on eGullet), but after checking out 3 of his cookbooks, I'm a fan, and would love to get one of his cookbooks, maybe the big one.

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Bittman is really nice. I got to work with him when he taught at the cooking school where I work.

CRS is selling for $16 a  lb  here. I wangled a free half pound from my favorite seafood guy. Heated a skillet, added a little olive oil, seared the skin side only til crispy. Covered it for 2 minutes to finish cooking. Ate it. It really IS good!

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When it comes to salmon, I am true to my word.  I made a recipe from the Babbo cookbook, which I am loving.  This entailed roasted salmon atop a salad of English cucumber, red wine vinegar, Jim Dixon's olive oil, mustard seeds, shallots, and scallions.  Balsamic vinegar is drizzled over the top.  This was, as they say, good.  Oh was this good.

It's hard to compare the sockeye with the king; each is a worthy fish on its own merits.  The sockeye is firm and full-flavored, the king buttery from its larding of succulent fat.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Saturday I went to Mashiko's where Hajime had Copper River Salmon on special. It was easily the best salmon I've ever had in my life. He served it sashimi style after an initial light salting. Both batgrrrl and I thought that it was slightly smoked but were quickly corrected. Apparently a lot of people when they try it raw believe it was smoked as evidenced by one of the other customers. All I can say is that CRS was fantastic! Smooth, creamy and bursting of great salmon flavor even from the tiniest pieces.

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I mentioned this before, but one of the best things about the whole Copper River thing is that it's brought more fresh sockeye down from Alaska (Bristol Bay is a huge sockeye fishery, and I think it runs from about now into mid-June or a little later). Sockeye is my all-time favorite salmon, and I've been eating silvers, chinook (aka King), and steelhead (technically a rainbow trout, but more like salmon in flavor) as long as I can remember. Never had pinks or dog, but don't think I'm missing much there.

Since it's usually during warm weather (such as it is here in the NW) I like to cook it on the Weber. I often brush the flesh side with a mix of olive oil, soy, and brown sugar because it reminds me of the smoked salmon we used to make when I was a kid. I cook it using the indirect method, skin side down, covered, with maybe a little fruitwood (I save tree trimmings for this) for smoke...The time varies depending on how hot the fire is, but it's usually less than 10 minutes. I don't flip it, and the skin can get a nice crispy edge.

I plan to look for a CR sockeye filet today at the Wed Farmers Mkt downtown.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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The (West Seattle) Admiral Safeway has fresh CRS sockeye fillet today at $5.99/lb.  I talked to seafood mgr. John, and one does not need to use the Safeway card to get the sale price.  He also said, at least for his seafood dept. one never needs to use the card to get the sale price on any item in his seafood dept.   All this time, and I didn't even know... it pays to ask.  I believe this price will be offered until the next ad comes out next wed., unless they run out.  He also mentioned the $7.99 price in the Safeway ad that came out today is a misprint...the price should read $5.99/lb.  I wasn't planning on getting any, but when I saw that great price, I just had to get some more.

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The fish guys weren't at the Farmers Mkt, but I was ready for salmon, so I pulled a couple of small filets out of the freezer. Sockeye, but not CR.

Rubbed with olive oil, coarse salt. cracked pepper, and cooked in our little convection oven.

Ate with a salsa verde made with lemon mint, spring garlic (garlic volunteers in the garden...clove about as big as the end of a finger and very mild), lemon zest, olive oil, and bottarga.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Great sounding dinner Jim, mmmm.   If you get a chance, please tell us more about bottarga.  I read it is kind of a caviar or fish roe?  Where do you get it, and what is your favorite way to serve it?  Is it a fresh local product, or imported from Italy?

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I just saw this on the other site.  I'm very interested to hear your comments.

"Just saw the Copper River string from a few days back.... just a reminder.... salmon has worms & needs to be frozen before you eat it raw. Didn't want anyone to get sick."

Kathy

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Egads! But thanks for the post and the reminder about food safety.

This is exactly why I'm reluctant to eat sushi anymore. Although I never gave it a second thought for years, I'm now afraid of the potential for critters! I'm sure most stuff is safe, but when I was preggers, my OB scared the hell out of me with stories about women whose babies were born with defects because their mothers ate raw fish/meats infected with critters (she wasn't just freaking me out, there is plenty of evidence that proves pg women should avoid all raw meat and fish).

But thanks to the lectures from my doc, I can't even look at sushi (even post pregnancy) without hearing "TOXOPLASMA!!" in my head. When I do eat sushi, I feel horribly guilty and wonder if I have worms crawling around inside me for days afterward. Basically, it's taken the joy out of eating raw fish anymore.

I've been reluctant to post on this subject because it's so controversial and I'm sure there will be many posts to follow about food safety and proper handling procedures -- people get really freaky on this subject. All I know is that I'm very careful and eat raw fish and meats very sparingly in the hopes it will reduce my risk of getting worms. uck!

Is anyone else as paranoid as I am or do you think we're all full of crap? (and worms?)

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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I would gladly take the risk of Toxoplasma for another bite of the raw CPS I had at Mashiko's. I rarely get salmon when I go for sushi because usually it's so boring, but that CPS was ethereal. Bascially a doctor would have to tell me I'd die if I have another bite of sushi before I would stop eating it. Here along the coast of the Pacific ocean I'd have a hard time imagining having any kind of problems with sushi. On the other hand, there's very little chance that I'd ever get pregnant, all I'd have to worry about is a bad flu.

But do watch out for sushi joints where the health officials force the chefs to wear plastic gloves during preperation. A chef's bare hands tells the him everything. With gloves he can't tell if his towel or cutting board is dirty or if his scallops have turned. Gloves are very frustrating to sushi chefs, well the ones that care and take pride in their work.

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I think Toxoplasma is only found in land animals, not in fish.  Of course, there are plenty of other pathogens in fish.  Here's a cute story that actually mentions raw salmon in Seattle.

When I go for sushi, I've been assuming that some of it is fresh and some of it quick-frozen.  I don't know which is which, however.  What's the real story here?

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Jim, thanks again for the scoop on bottarga and the link.  I called De Laurenti, at Pike Place, and they said they sometimes carry it, but are out at the moment.  It sounds like another wonderfully flavored, albeit expensive, ingredient I would love to try.  Salty and fish roe are right up my alley.

A quick shopping trip to Costco, 4th Ave S. Seattle location,  today revealed they had a lot of fresh whole Copper River Salmon at $3.99/lb, wrapped w/ todays wrap date.  I believe it was cleaned w/head removed.  They were about 5 pounds, ranging in price from about $19-$26 for a whole salmon.  Today for lunch, I just baked the CRS sockeye I bought yesterday w/ olive oil, S & P for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees.  Served it w/ coleslaw and seasoned baked potato wedges. It was so good.  (I'm cooking easy these days).

I've also heard something about worms in wild salmon, but I think the higher quality sushi places are aware of this and know what to look for.  However, I did freeze my latest batch of gravlax almost 24 hours (for the first time), before eating.  I could not tell it had been frozen, which was nice.

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Usually tuna and salmon are not previously frozen, but the more exotic items are like the big scallops. Hajime, from Mashiko's, was saying that he orders the "dry" fresh scallops from Alaska. These scallops are more expensive because they aren't infused with water before shipping. I assume that local seafood is fresh and non-local is previously frozen or cooked.

Good to know about Anisakis simplex, guess I'll have to stop eating those baby seal "club" sandwiches.

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