I recently vacationed in Alaska. Alaska has a lot of salmon, this year even more than usual. One of the thrills of the trip was watching salmon fight their way upstream. It’s an incredible spectacle of nature. Alaskan salmon, unlike many wild fish, is heavily managed. The state watches salmon numbers and determines fishing slots, down to the hour, for salmon boats. In a good year such as this one, boats flock to coastal Alaska from as far away as Seattle to haul in the golden (OK, it’s really orange) fish. It is a huge resource for a state that can’t claim a whole lot in the agricultural arena (aside from monster cabbages).
|Gratuitous photo of Alaska that has nothing to do with salmon|
There are five types of salmon from Alaska. If you go there, you will hear how Alaskan children learn how to remember the different types, using the fingers on their hand.
- Thumb, which rhymes with Chum. The chum salmon is also called the dog salmon.
- Pointer, to poke or sock someone in the eye for the Sockeye salmon.
- Middle finger, “oh no!” which rhymes with Coho. The Coho is also called the silver salmon.
- Index, the ring finger, rhymes with king. The King salmon is also called the Chinook salmon.
- Pinky, for the Pink salmon, also called the Humpback salmon because it has a distinctive humped back.
Right now, fresh wild Alaskan salmon is showing up in Colorado for ridiculous prices. I got Chum salmon today for $5.99/pound. You can’t beat that for delicious nutritious fish. I happen to like salmon skin so I leave it on, though you will want to scale it first. You can also ask your fishmonger to scale or skin the salmon for you. Most are happy to oblige.
Roasted Salmon with Roasted Vegetables and Capers
(serves 4 -6)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into large bite-sized chunks
1 green bell pepper, prepped like the red peppers
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into large bite-sized chunks
salt and black pepper
3 Tablespoons capers, drained
1 ½ pounds salmon fillet from the head end
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the peppers and onion chunks on a rimmed sheet pan big enough to hold them all in one layer. Drizzle on the oil and toss to coat all the pieces. Sprinkle lightly with salt (the capers will add more so you don’t need a lot) and black pepper. Roast the vegetables in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Stir after 10 minutes so they cook evenly. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. Be more generous with the salt here. Mix in the capers then place the salmon fillet, skin side (or what side previously had the skin if you have a skinned piece) down on top of the vegetables. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Roast for another 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Just before serving, sprinkle on the lemon juice.