A Tale of Two Salmon: Part II

The time comes in every frozen fish’s afterlife when it must leave the security of the deep freeze to be thawed, prepped and cooked. The second large piece of Coho in our freezer met its fate this week – a fate that including a roasting, a baking and finally, a chowdering (is that a word?). Jason scaled and washed the salmon and stuffed it with fresh tarragon and lemon slices then roasted it in a 450 degree oven atop roasting fennel bulb and leeks and a dash of white wine. Roasting it bone-in with the skin on protects the meat from over-cooking. Still, salmon, like all fish, shouldn’t cook too long and get too hot or the flake of the fish becomes brittle and dry.

The resulting roast of salmon couldn’t have been tastier. We plated it with the roasted vegetables and a heap of horseradish mashed potatoes.

We wanted more the following day and since everything was cooked, all we had to do was load up a couple of baking dishes with mashed potatoes, a bit of veggies and a piece of salmon. We popped them into the toaster oven and within minutes we had a composed one dish meal. Because the salmon was dry thanks to the second cooking, it got a nice dollop of lemony mayo sauce that included chopped capers, fresh lemon juice, a dash of Tabasco and a little salt and fresh ground black pepper.


Left over Salmon

Later in the week, the leftover salmon enjoyed a second “life” in the form of a delicious chowder of sweet pink flakes in a light cream broth with potatoes, leeks and fresh herbs. I enjoyed a big bowl for lunch, then a second! The batch must have been huge because there’s plenty left for another day and Jason froze a mess of it for a future quick meal.

Cooking the salmon leaves plenty of room in the deep freeze for more fish. We’re hoping for a good catch next month when we try our hands at deep-sea fishing just off the coast of San Francisco. We’ll be sure to share the experience here so please stay tuned.


Steve & Jason

Roasted Salmon with Fennel and Leeks

olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 large leek, thinly sliced
¼ white wine
½ of a whole Coho salmon or salmon steaks
bunch of tarragon
½ lemon sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Add a couple tablespoon olive oil to a small roasting pan. Add the fennel, leeks, and salt and pepper to the pan and roast for 15 minutes. While vegetables are roasting, scale and clean the salmon. Salt and pepper the cavity of the salmon then stuff with tarragon and lemon slices. Coat the fish with olive oil and add more salt and pepper. Add the white wine to the roasting vegetables, then place the salmon on top of the vegetables and roast for 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure the salmon does not over cook. Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes, and aioli, tartar sauce, or hollandaise sauce.

If you’re using salmon steaks cook them for 10 minutes, or so, depending on the thickness of them. Check often to make sure the fish does not dry out.


Salmon Chowder

Salmon Chowder

1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
4 cups stock (fish, chicken or veggie – we add the salmon bones to the stock to add flavor then strain before adding to the soup)
1 pint cream
1 cup milk
3 large waxy potatoes, cubed
10 oz flaked salmon
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat stock pot over medium heat and add butter. When butter is melted, add onions and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes longer being careful not to brown the vegetables. Add broth and potatoes and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender. Add salmon, cream and milk and heat until hot but not boiling. Add chopped parsley and serve.

Note: if you prefer a thicker chowder, add 2 tbsp flour to onion, celery and garlic after the sauté  and cook for a few minutes before adding stock. Be careful you don’t allow the roux to brown. Whisk liquid into the pan to prevent small “dumplings” from forming. Proceed with the remaining recipe instructions.

Salmon: The Rebuttal

If you read our “Tale of Two Salmon” post last week, you’ll remember that it contained a little soap box moment in the form of an exhortation to avoid farmed salmon. A reader, unhappy with our position, let us know in no uncertain terms that we were spreading malicious lies for no purpose other than perhaps to promote Alaska fishing. Our first reaction was to delete the comment and pretend nobody ever disagrees with what we write, but decided that would be dishonest. Our blog is mostly intended to be fun, but we also want it to get people to think about what they eat – where it comes from, what it does to their bodies, how it impacts our environment. So your comments, even when critical, are always welcome. And while we wish the reader would have come at the issue with a little less venom, we take the point.

The growing scientific consensus is that salmon aquaculture, for all its promise, is, on balance, an unsound practice. We aren’t trying to scare anyone. We just think people should think about whether they really need to eat salmon at all. We agree that the wild fisheries are under tremendous stress, but where those fisheries are deemed healthy and sustainable, we say eat the salmon when you can get it. But if the choice is between “affordable” farm-raised salmon or no salmon at all, our vote is for no salmon consumption. It’s time to let our wild fisheries heal.

A quick search of all that is available to us online on the subject yields far more than we could ever capture here, but we encourage anyone who is interested in doing their own homework to do so. It won’t take you long to discover that wildlife biologists of every stripe as well as fishermen, state and national governments and research institutions are all coming to the same conclusion – salmon aquaculture does more harm than good to the salmon fisheries. We include here a few links for your reference. The first link is very compelling in its examination of the impacts of salmon farming on British Columbia’s wild salmon populations. I particularly like the PBS link because it offers a counterpoint by a representative of the industry. All points of view should have a voice.










Our readers are always welcome to comment here. But we ask that we remain civil in our ongoing discussions of our food choices.

Steve & Jason