It’s finally arrived, folks: wild salmon season! The sustainable wild salmon fisheries up in Alaska are running at peak capacity right now, which means not only can you get fresh wild salmon – as opposed to frozen – you’ll probably have a choice of different varieties available at your local fishmonger shop.Â (Superior Fish had red sockeye, coho, and another that I can’t recall.Â I picked the sockeye since the fishmonger said it had the “boldest flavor.”)
Rainbow trout and Arctic char are beauties, too, but for my money, you just can’t beat fresh wild salmon.Â Farmed salmon, on the other hand, lacks the flavor and nutrition of wild since the amount and type of omega-3 fats in the wild salmon depends upon its natural diet.Â (Hint: not grain!)Â Besides, farmed salmon is often the result of irresponsible and environmentally damaging aquaculture methods, while the wild fisheries in Alaska are generally regarded as leaders in the sustainable seafood world.Â So support your taste buds AND the environment by enjoying fresh Alaskan wild salmon when it’s in season!
Wild Salmon with Strawberry Salsa
Serves 4 if you go with 2 ears of corn. Recipe can easily be halved or doubled, whichever best suits your dining plan.
1-2 ears of corn, husked
8-10 organic strawberries, hulled (stem removed) and chopped*
1 avocado, peel and pit discarded, flesh chopped
16 oz fresh-style salsa, preferably any variety from Garden Fresh OR make your own by combining chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and a little chopped garlic
1 lb. fresh wild salmon
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Drop in the ears of corn, reduce heat slightly, and boil the ears for 3 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Sticking to the three-minute mark will ensure crisp, sweet kernels; overstepping it will give you soggy, less-tasty kernels. Use heatproof tongs to remove the ears, set them in a dish drain or drying rack, and let cool until you can easily handle them with bare hands.Â (You can speed this up by placing the ears in a pot- or bowlful of cold water for a few minutes, then letting them dry for a few minutes.) Take a sharp knife and cut the kernels into a large bowl, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle to the cob so that you’re cutting deep enough to remove the full kernels but not so deep that you cut into the cob itself. Start cutting about halfway down the cob, then flip it over and cut kernels off the other half. Discard cobs.
Stir the kernels, the strawberries, and the avocado into the salsa. The acidity of the citrus and tomatoes will prevent the avocado from browning. Set aside salsa while you’re making the salmon.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil into a pan large enough to hold the salmon and heat over medium heat for 1 minute. Add salmon skin side UP and gently swirl the salmon in the oil, coating it so that it won’t stick to the pan when you go to flip it. Cover the pan with a lid and let the salmon cook for 5 minutes. Check at 4 minutes if you’re using a smaller piece of salmon – 1/2 lb. or 3/4 lb. instead of the full pound – and see if the flesh is opaque about halfway up. When it is, carefully flip the salmon over with a large spatula or two smaller spatulas so that the skin side is resting on the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes, again checking at 4 minutes if you’re using a smaller piece of salmon. When the flesh is completely opaque and flakes apart easily when pierced by a fork, the salmon is done. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Overcooked salmon can be dried-out and tough compared to its tender, almost-buttery counterpart. Also be aware that different types of salmon have different amounts of fat; the lower-fat varieties will cook more quickly than the higher-fat varieties will.
Run a spatula along the bottom of the salmon flesh to separate it from the skin if you want to remove the skin before serving. Serve with a generous portion of salsa. Leftover salsa will last a day or two in the refrigerator. If you plan on having leftover salsa around longer than that, only put avocado in the portion you’re going to serve immediately – without the avocado, the refrigerated strawberry salsa will be fine for a good 5 days.
* Seeing as strawberries are our #1 most-sprayed crop, it’s worth buying organic strawberries.
Courtesy of Cultured Cook.
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Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC