Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ginger Pickled Salmon

This is a great way to use frozen salmon and an awesome pantry item to have for the holidays. Quick and festive, what can be better?

When life gives you salmon...lots of salmon, you get pretty creative as to how to prepare it. This has turned into one of our favorites! We make for special catering events here at the bakery and at home we always try to have a jar in the fridge just in case we have to wow company on short notice. The appetizer we created by shredding it and putting it on cucumber rounds with wasabi and a cilantro blossom has become a crowd favorite...gets them every time!
To pickle 1 1/2 pounds of salmon (this is red salmon, but any kind works):
cut fish into little 2" strips about 1/2' wide...coat very thoroughly with kosher salt and place in a nonreactive container, covered in the refrigerator for at least overnight or up to 2 days (soak a little longer in clean water if it is salted more than 24 hours).
To make your pickling liquid:
in a medium saucepan stir together:
2 cups water
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 pound fresh ginger- sliced thin
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 T salt
1 1/2 T black peppercorns
2 t brown mustard seed (optional)
bring mixture to a boil, let cool and refrigerate overnight to chill completely.
Rinse salt from salmon letting the fish soak in cold water for a few minutes. drain well. put salmon into clean glass jars to two thirds full and top off the jars with the picking liquid. fit with a tight clean lid and refrigerate to cure for 3 days.
serve as shown above or just put it in a bowl and eat with your fingers like my 10 year old's his favorite TV snack...such a good Alaskan boy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

King Salmon with honey cayenne glaze

 John went trolling for salmon today with his friend Harry. Harry is half of the wonderful couple that sold us the land on which the bakery now proudly calls home. He and his wife Shirley were very flexible and amazing when it came to doing the land deal, carrying the loan themselves at a time we were hard pressed to get credit from a bank. (The bank kept wanting to refinance my 10 year old car...they put more trust in the car than my business, which is window into the difficulties the super-small start-ups go through) We faithfully made our payments and saved our money, and eventually...thanks to the fact we had an asset that was tangible, we were able to design and build our dream bakery. We have worked hard to live up to the town's needs and expectations and we are grateful to all those who helped us along the way. Today, this one is for Harry and Shirley...Thank You! And Thanks for taking John out so he could bring home something that's a little rare this time of year. Fresh King Salmon. This particular fish is what's referred to as a 'feeder' king. King Salmon spawn after 5 years or so, until then they roam the oceans building up fat reserves for their harrowing journey upstream. Where we live, on a bluff about 500 feet above the shores of Cook Inlet, we have a very fine and expansive view of a particularly popular spot for these feeder kings and we watch all winter as, at times, a dozen boats or more are making the slow movements back and forth indicative of trolling. John came home with two fish, one a white king salmon (I sadly did not get a photo of before it was processed for the freezer). The other was a fine light pink gem, very fatty and beautiful pale color due to the cold temps and season.

To cook it, I decided to keep it simple and sear it skin side down and then finish it under a broiler with this super simple honey cayenne glaze. 
To make the glaze:
1/4 cup honey- any kind- go crazy!
a pinch of cayenne pepper 
stir it up in a little dish and set aside.
Heat up a cast iron skillet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. place fish in when it's just smoking and sear the bottom not moving the fish at all...4 minutes. Glaze the fish once or twice while on the stove , putting another coating on right before moving pan to the broiler. Broil another four to 5 minutes. This was a thick filet, so I check it once and glaze it again before giving it two minutes more. Pull from oven and let sit to rest, covered for 3 minutes. Slather on the last of the glaze right before serving. 
We ate ours with crisp green salad and fresh ciabatta bread from the bakery...divine!