Copper River Sockeye Salmon

Posted by johngl

The most glorious spousal unit and I were looking to celebrate life on this Memorial Day weekend, so we got an early start yesterday morning after dropping most glorious mother-in-law off at the airport. The old girl is doing quite well after her narrow escape from the grim reaper just last month (and thanks to those of you who have inquired about her since then). I can only hope to be as strong and active as she is when I reach age 83. Actually, I don’t see how reaching 83 is even possible for me, but if I do get there, I hope I am still able to cook.

Oh, and speaking of life and remembrance and such, since it is Memorial Weekend, let’s not forget to give our thanks to those individuals whose lives have been cut short by War. If you’d like to be a bit more progressive, give thanks to those Service Personnel who are still living, too. When you discover someone you know (or work with) has served in our Armed Forces, just thank them for that service; you’ll both feel better for it. If you find yourself sitting next to a General on a flight — as I did on a very recent trip — take a moment to thank them for their continued service.

Thanks to you for allowing that digression and now back to our regularly scheduled salmon!

Olive oil poached Copper River sockeye salmon with creme fraiche and caviar

This olive oil poached Copper River sockeye salmon with crème fraîche and Avruga “caviar” was probably the best I have had since last season’s Copper River harvest.

The Copper River, the 10th largest in the US (by water volume), is a 300 mile stretch of glacial runoff that dumps into the Gulf of Alaska and is particularly noted for it’s highly-prized runs of salmon. Available only between mid-May and mid-August, I prefer them in the earlier parts of the season.

So, in creating dinner for the evening, my objective was not to mess up this wonderful offering; finding a magnificently fresh fillet of fish flesh this far inland is tough enough and I take its preparation very seriously.

I decided to keep it simple.

fabulously fresh fish fillet

A little salt, some white pepper. That’s it.

I dug out my oval fish pan…

copper bottomed oval pan

and filled it about a third full of olive oil.

Heating the oil to 300° I then completely shut down the heat.

I did some basic calculations in my head and figured that putting a 34° one and a quarter pound piece of fish flesh into about the same weight of olive oil would quickly yield something in the 160-175 range and I wasn’t too far off. After a couple of minutes, it came down to the high 150’s, which was fine.

at about 170 degrees

I continued to ladle the warm oil over top for about ten minutes until the interior of the thickest part of the fillet came in at 125°.

I scooped the skin-on fillet out of the oil and onto a cutting board and split into approximate halves and plated with the crème fraîche and caviar.

salmon fillet...about 9 oz worth

The salmon was tender and moist and full of flavor, just as it should be. Remember, your mission as a cook is to not mess up your raw materials. The better they are, the more careful you must be.

Respect your food, respect from whence it came, respect how it got to your plate, and respect (and remember) those who help us maintain our glorious lifestyles.

This entry was posted in Recipes: Eats, Techniques and tagged , by johngl. Bookmark the permalink.

About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits.

Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

2 thoughts on “Copper River Sockeye Salmon

  1. Where did you buy that salmon, John? It looks much better than what we have been getting at the store.

    • Believe it or not, Costco (south). They were cutting and packing when we were there bright and early on Saturday morning.

Comments are closed.