By Mary Ellen Psaltis
Fresh seafood is a huge bonus of living in the Pacific Northwest. Fish is healthful (all those good omegas), easy to prepare and is pleasurable to eat. My son and I love salmon – lucky for us. I am not sure where the unpronounced “l” came from, but that is not on my list of worries. Copper River salmon season, which last a fleeting two months, begins on a random day mid-May. Restaurants will celebrate its arrival with enticing recipes. Fish markets will have it and then suddenly the last tail slips away until next year. Yes, you can freeze some, but I like the bear method – eat copiously while it’s readily available.
Copper River salmon refers not to a particular kind of salmon, but that the salmon physically came from the Copper River. It might be King, sockeye or silver. The swiftness of the river requires the fish to have more fat and oil to make the difficult journey. The unpredictable weather and extreme tides also make for challenging fishing. Hence, Copper River salmon is renown around the world.
In case you are not crazy about salmon, you will have numerous options if you stop in at Bayview’s Lobster Sale on Friday, May 17. Head under the big tent in the parking lot for live or cooked lobsters. Alongside the lobsters will be whole and half halibut and other seafood for as well. Seafood Manager Lisa Ishler has been scoping out the best prices and availability. Sounds like feasting to me.
Here are a few thoughts for cooking your fish:
Sear: (high heat, short time) Start your fillets on the stove then finish them in the oven. The outside will be golden perfect and the inside still moist.
Or, forget the oven finish and sear only. It won’t be cooked through – and that’s OK. (maybe not for everyone).
Broil: Again, you will cook the outside fast. A sticky marinade would be nice. Cook as desired.
Bake: 350 degrees for a few minutes. Totally easy – won’t produce crisp outside but perfect for spicy rubs. Don’t be afraid to take your pan out off the oven when the fish appears almost but not quite done. As the pieces sit for a couple of minutes, the cooking will continue.
Poach: citrus, wine and butter. Submerges flavors, no burning.
Plank: Soaked pieces of wood protect your fillets from the grill and add a smoky wood element that you either love or hate.
Smoke: Not within my realm of expertise, but lots of people do it. Need some equipment.
Raw: No cooking at all: Raw, fresh, high quality salmon can be eaten raw but one ought exercise caution.
Boiling: Cooking lobsters requires a huge pot of salted water. Best results come from putting the live lobster head first into the roiling water. You can probably do two at time (depending on the size of the pot).
Cover the pot and let it get to boiling again. Recipes suggest 12-20 minutes for a 1-1 ½ pound lobster. The shells will become bright red and the tails will curl. Drain well.
Bayview will do the cooking, if you prefer. Serve with drawn batter and chilled wine.
What is drawn butter, anyway?
Also known as clarified butter, it’s unsalted butter where the solids and liquids have been separated. This is done by melting butter, just bringing it to a boil, removing from heat and then skimming off the solids. What’s left is clear. Use for dipping.
I see fish in my future and it sure looks great. There must be at least one fish with one cooking style that appeals to you. Give it a go. It’s the season.
Eat Well – Be Well