While grilling the last of last year’s salmon the other day, I got to wondering about what other people did with salmon. Curious, I e-mailed 20 people, asking them for their favorite salmon recipes.
The response was immediate and enthusiastic, testimony to the popularity of salmon as food. Some respondents went into great detail, while others kept things brief. On the wordy side, AE Poynor listed all 18 ingredients and 200 words of directions for Smoked Salmon Chowder. Jon Holland won the prize for pithiness with his “My favorites are grilled, and poached and drizzled with FRESH dill butter.”
Pete Rosko sent this interesting idea: “My wife makes a great strawberry freezer jam. Last year, I pan seared my salmon with skin on. Upon removing it to my dish, I spoon-spread the strawberry jam over the salmon then ate the salmon while it was still warm. It was delicious … the sweet flavor bonding with the flavor of salmon. It is how I now prefer to eat any type of salmon.”
Dennis Randa mentioned that salmon dipped in beer batter and deep-fried had become one of his favorite ways to prepare salmon.
Rod Arno wrote that he doesn’t cook, but went on to say how he likes to catch a salmon, wrap it in foil and cook it in the coals of a riverside campfire.
As I expected, leftover salmon received several mentions, including using it in dips, spreads, tacos, wraps, patties, salads, chowders and sandwiches.
Going by the 16 recipes I received, there’s no limit to the rubs, sauces, condiments and marinades used in salmon cookery. One cook sprinkles on Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Another massages salmon with Williams & Sonoma’s Potlatch Rub. Other ingredients mentioned were butter, soy sauce, garlic, onion, honey, dill weed, brown sugar, grated fresh ginger, mayonnaise, bourbon ketchup, blackening seasoning, maple syrup and the zest and juice of limes, lemons and oranges.
It occurred to me while reading these recipes that I could use ideas from them to create a salmon feast, a twist on bo 7 mon, the Vietnamese beef fest in which beef is served seven ways. High on the idea, I came up with the following menu:
Salmon 7 Ways
1. Salmon Sashimi A fast freight to flavor town, this is uncooked king salmon, freshly harvested with Asian white-radish garnish, soy dipping sauce, wasabi and fresh, grated ginger.
2. Salmon Caviar Lovingly made with roe of wild, ocean-caught Alaska chum salmon, served on toast with lemon-butter. These orange-red pearls will burst in your mouth and leave you with a salty hint of the ocean and a healthy dose of Omega-3.
3. Bagels and Lox A crispy bagel chip, topped with a thin slice of coho salmon lox, pickled lemon and fresh dill. You can’t eat just one.
4. Salmon Bisque Mouth-watering chunks of alder-smoked sockeye salmon swimming in a sinful sea of butter, heavy cream, tarragon and lemon zest. An awe-inspiring bonding of flavors. Nothing that tastes this good can possibly be bad.
5. Salmon on a Shingle In our version of SOS, a chow-hall term universally known to GIs, the first “S” stands for salmon. Wild, ocean-caught pink salmon, to be exact, lightly smoked with a 25/75 mix of alder and apple wood chips. The fish is flaked and used in a rich, creamy gravy, as well as being used in hush puppies, the “shingles” for this decadent dish.
6. Coconut Salmon Chunks of wild Alaska sockeye salmon, beer-battered, rolled in shredded, sweetened coconut and deep-fried. It’s served with our version of tzatziki, made with sour cream, pressed garlic, diced sweet onion and garden-fresh dill. You’ll love it tonight, and you’ll still love it tomorrow.
7. Salmon Pad Thai This dish features Asian rice noodles that have been cooked, chilled and married to carrot, red onion and cucumber, then gently tossed with a spicy lime vinaigrette and chopped peanuts. It looks like a salad, but you’ll drool like you’re eating dessert.
You may not have the courage to try making, let alone eating, all seven of these dishes at once, but wouldn’t it be fun to try two or three? Or four?
Les Palmer can be reached at email@example.com.