Thursday, July 24, 2008

Copper River Salmon

Do you know about Copper River Salmon? Ohmygosh! One taste of this firm red fish, with its rich and nutty flavor, and you will understand why food lovers relish the three to four weeks that fresh Copper River salmon is available each year.

The Copper River flows in the state of Alaska. Almost 300 miles in length, this wild rushing river empties into Prince William Sound at the town of Cordova. Salmon that originate in these pristine waters are challenged by its length and its strong, chill rapids. Consequently, Copper River salmon are strong, robust creatures with a healthy store of natural oils and body fat. These qualities make the salmon among the richest, tastiest fish in the world. Fortunately, fatty Copper River salmon is good for you, as it is loaded with Omega-3 oils---you know, the good stuff.

For several years, the chef at our club, who was a master with fresh fish, had Copper River salmon flown in during May and June each year. It was always a treat that we looked forward to with much anticipation. Hubby is not generally a salmon man; but even he enjoyed those special servings.

Well, that same chef now works for Sam's Club, believe it or not. He catered a cooking school and dinner party last weekend to which I was invited, and he told me that he had Copper River Salmon at Sam's---major shock---and he would call when he got another shipment in. I got that call, and I ran by today. His case was full of those beautiful, red, glistening fillets, and I came home with a two-pound one. Hubby was skeptical---won't be fresh, will be too strong, will smell up the house, yada, yada. What does he know!

Anyway, I rushed home, cut that big fillet into five portions, and began the prep---sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil rubbed all over. Then I slipped them into my very hot iron skillet--with a few drops of EVOO---and seared them three minutes on one side, then two minutes on the other. Then, I slipped them into a 425 oven for about five minutes. While they were cooking, I whisked up a mustard horseradish vinaigrette to serve over the top. With the salmon, I had rutabaga fritters with raisins and some roasted tomatoes I had in the frig. Not bad for Thursday night dinner. Hubby even had seconds.
I'll get more of that salmon tomorrow! I might do something that looks like this:

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