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Our friend Samantha Ferraro is the author of The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen, a cookbook that extols the beauties of the Mediterranean diet with beautifully simple dishes and colorful photos.
This Keta Salmon Curry with Lemongrass and Galanga Recipe is not necessarily Mediterranean per se but borrows heavily from the colorful vegetable-forward beauty of Mediterranean cuisine. In this dish, wild keta salmon is poached with strong Thai flavors of ginger, galanga and lemongrass in a robust curry.
1 sheet (12” x 18”) aluminum foil
4 Alaska Gold Halibut portions
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
8 large fresh whole basil leaves
2 medium tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat broiler/oven to medium-high (450°F). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Halibut under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Place halibut in pan and broil about 5 inches from heat source for 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Turn fillets over and season with salt and pepper. Broil an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.
Remove halibut from oven and layer 2 slices cheese, then 2 basil leaves, and 2 slices tomato over each portion. Return halibut to the oven and broil an additional 2 minutes, until cheese begins to melt.
Blend balsamic vinegar and oil. To serve, spoon dressing over fillets and garnish with chopped basil.
This recipe and photo came from a customer who wrote us simply with this one word “Fabulous”:
You can certainly take some liberties with the vegetables and herbs in this recipe, which is a modification of a recipe that originally came from Southern Living. The key is the parchment paper, which keeps the fish moist. The French call this method in papillote. The juices that stay in the parchment paper concentrate the flavors and release an aromatic steam when opened upon serving.
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
8 sweet mini peppers
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 pickled okra pods, halved lengthwise
8 ounces small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 (17-inch) parchment paper or aluminum foil squares
Preheat oven to 400°. Snap off tough ends of asparagus, and discard. Toss together asparagus, next 6 ingredients, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Divide mixture among parchment paper squares; top each with 1 Alaska Gold Halibut portion. Sprinkle with remaining salt, and drizzle with remaining oil. Squeeze juice from lemon over halibut portions; and top each with 1 Tbsp. butter. Bring parchment paper sides up over mixture; fold top, and twist ends to seal. Place packets on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400° for 12 to 16 minutes or until a thermometer registers 135° to 145° when inserted through paper into fish. Place packets on plates, and cut open. Serve immediately.
PARCHMENT IS BEST FOR: Fish fillets that are about 1 inch thick.
EXPERT ADVICE: Packets must be tightly sealed so they don’t come undone while baking. Make small, snug, overlapping folds to seal each bundle, and then twist the tail ends tightly closed.
“This is a recipe that has evolved,” says Darlene, a customer in Port Angeles, Washington. “My husband didn’t use to like halibut as much as I do, but with the tarragon from my herb garden, some lavender salt, mashed potatoes and Annie’s shiitake sesame oil, this recipe is a hit. The mashed potatoes add some heft that he likes and the Alaska Gold halibut is fresh and sweet, which I like, and this recipe brings a nice balance for us. I bake the Alaska Gold halibut at 425 F for 8-9 minutes and this dish comes out perfectly. The whole family loves it.”
Make mashed potatoes from 2 Russet type baking potatoes. Add milk,
half ‘n half, or cream as you usually would do and mash. Add salt and
pepper to taste, then add butter and whip ‘til smooth.
2 – 8 oz. portions of Halibut
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. virgin olive oil
Orange-Lavender salt to taste
White or black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Place Halibut on a greased baking sheet (I like
to line with aluminum foil). Bake 8 – 9 minutes. Save any juice. Serve
over Mashed Potatoes.
8 – 10 Standard or Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 oz. Fresh Tarragon, sliced slightly
2 T. Butter Olive Oil for sautéing
2 T. “Annie’s” brand Shiitake Mushroom Vinaigrette
While Halibut is baking, sauté mushrooms slowly in a small pan (I like
to use an 8 inch non-stick pan) until softened – careful to use low heat.
Add seasonings and Annie’s Vinaigrette. Add any Halibut juices to the
mushrooms and spoon over the cooked Halibut.
4 Alaska Gold halibut portions, thawed
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 sprigs lemon thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green part only), sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
5 to 6 oz. baby spinach leaves
2 Tablespoons dry white wine or vegetable broth
Heat broiler/oven to medium-high heat (450°F)..
Thaw Alaska halibut under refrigeration for 24 hours. Pat Alaska halibut dry with paper towel. Arrange fillets on a spray-coated or foil lined baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 inches from the heat source for about 5 minutes. Remove fish from oven, and place 1/2 tablespoon butter on top of each fillet. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Return to oven and cook an additional 4 to 6 minutes.Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.
While the fish is cooking, add remaining butter to a saucepan with the lemon zest, remaining lemon juice and mustard. Heat gently, whisking until melted, then add the thyme. Keep warm.
Heat the olive oil in a wok or large pan; cook the leeks and zucchini over medium heat until soft. Add the spinach and wine or broth, stirring until the leaves have wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve the fish and vegetables, pouring the warm lemon and thyme dressing over fillets.
Cook’s tip: Use regular thyme if you can’t find the lemon variety, or use rosemary instead.
Make a salad or something that doesn’t involve reheating.
This salad inspiration comes from a customer, who writes: “Made with corn salad (mache) and volunteer arugula from the garden, avocado, croutons made from stale homemade wheat bread, and pieces of leftover Alaska Gold coho salmon filets, plus a little orange-infused olive oil, this salad sure was a winner! My husband doesn’t usually get too excited about salads, but he liked this one so much that he grabbed his phone and took a picture of it totally ecstatic. The combination of flavors surprised him. He’s a recent salmon convert thanks to Alaska Gold, and he’s no photographer, but this salad, made on the fly when we came home from a morning hike, sure is pretty.”
Salads like this one made from leftover coho salmon are also a really great way to maximize macro and micro nutrients in one meal. The perfect mix is a quality sourced protein, like wild salmon, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and some good fats (an avocado, for example), a bed of nutrient-rich leafy greens, and tons of other veggies and add-ons (some Marcona almonds would also work really well) based on our activity levels and what our bodies are needing.
What’s also great about these salads is that they are easy to prep once you have the leftover salmon. 8 to 10 minutes tops.
A lot of our customers order the bulk sized coho salmon filets, and they grill or bake them for a meal. If there are leftovers, tear up the salmon into pieces, and you can make wonderful salads like these. Put them in some Tupperware and bring them with you in your lunch box, and you’ve got a healthy lunch!
Note: It’s also good to remember to not reheat salmon. In general, this causes the salmon’s natural oils to get rancid. Though leftover salmon works really well for example with scrambled eggs for breakfast, it can go into the pan at the very end of cooking.
According to a recent poll, only 30% of American families eat dinner together every night, despite numerous studies underscoring the long-term health and societal benefits of eating together as a family. Research shows that eating family meals together results in a positive impact on health and wellness while reducing obesity rates, eating disorders, risky behaviors in teens and diabetes in adults. Also, when you cook your own meals together, you know what you’re putting in your food, which often is healthier than when you don’t know.
February is American Heart Month and the American Heart Association recommends eating heart-healthy seafood at least twice a week, yet only 10% of Americans get at least 2 servings of seafood a week.
A really fun dinner with friends and family of all ages is our Easy Salmon Cakes recipe. See this review of the recipe and our Easy Salmon from a happy Alaska Gold customer: “I made my first batch of salmon cakes following the recipe I found on the AG website and OMG! I was skeptical at first but I’m truly converted: the minced salmon is amazing with no variation in flavor whatsoever […] The easy salmon is delicious and yes, easy to prepare. It took 30 minutes from preparation and sautéing! Dinner in a snap and tasty too!”
An easy way to get heart-healthy seafood into your family’s weekly plan is to include our Alaska Gold Easy Salmon. Easy Salmon is made from our wild coho salmon, which is a lean protein, low in saturated fats and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Bottom line: The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we shift from a diet high in saturated fats to a diet rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, like those in wild salmon and plant-based proteins. Strive for two to three servings per week.
In addition to the nutritional benefits, most of the Easy Salmon recipes, many from our customers, we have on our website can be made in 30 minutes or less.
These recipes from our customers are fun, unique takes on meals that include our heart-healthy Easy Salmon.
Work Easy Salmon into your family meals routine for easy, delicious, nutritious and rewarding meals together with your family!
Wild salmon from the cold, clear waters of Alaska ranks as some of the world’s finest seafood. For extraordinary taste and extraordinary health benefits, eat more wild salmon.
There is no more optimal source of protein than wild salmon. Lean but dense with nutrients at the same time, wild salmon is a perfect protein. Heart-healthy with the right profile of fat, protein and nutrients, wild salmon is loaded with healthy benefits. It’s even good for your hands and skin!
2. Our Alaska Gold salmon is delivered to your door frozen on dry ice to maintain temperature control. Remove dry ice. (DO NOT USE BARE HANDS to remove dry ice!)
3. Put salmon in freezer upon receipt. You should receive tracking info via email to know when to expect delivery.
4. The best way to thaw is to put in your refrigerator for 24 hours. Each individually vacuum-sealed salmon portion can be removed from freezer and thawed in your fridge, one at a time, for use whenever you’d like to eat it.
5. After 24-hour thaw in your refrigerator, remove and cut open vacuum-sealed package. Remove salmon portion from package.
6. Rinse and dry the fillet with a paper towel. Let sit out on your counter for a good 20 minutes to let the salmon get to room temperature. (When it’s too cold, the salmon will stick to your grill or pan.)
7. Marinate if desired in a favorite purchased or prepared marinade.
8. Pre-heat the grill if grilling or the pan if sauteing. We have some seafood cooking tips here on how to roast, bake or poach our salmon. Poaching is an excellent method to enjoy our coho salmon. If grilling, we’re big advocates of using a tin foil to make a tent to help retain the salmon’s moisture. Dry salmon is the worst and the best thing you can do is to prevent dryness. Using the “tin foil salmon tent” goes a long way to help retain the salmon’s moisture and natural flavors. Cook for about 10 minutes per inch of fish thickness. Turning is not necessary. Start “checking” the fish after 8 minutes. We like the fish when it starts flaking easily. We encourage you to cook slowly if grilling or baking–250º F is a great temperature, though there are merits to cooking at higher temperatures. We have some wild salmon recipes here.
9. DON’T OVERCOOK!! This is probably the biggest mistake made when cooking seafood. Overcooked fish is dry and unpalatable. When you remove your salmon fillets from the grill, they will continue to cook a little as they sit, so remove them from the grill when they are just nearly done. Salmon is done when it turns a light pink color throughout and feels firm when pressed gently with the back of a fork. Enjoy!
Many of us enjoy our Alaska Gold salmon with the most basic of pairings. Sea salt and a little pepper. I use the dried lavender from my yard, some sea salt and an orange rind to make a lavender sea salt rub, the seasoning that I have most often on my grilled salmon. Other herbs from the garden that pair well with salmon include dill and tarragon. The combination of honey and soy makes a savory sweet combination that goes well with salmon. Lemon and garlic also go well. Take 2 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons garlic, the juice from one lemon, a dash of of pepper and two of our coho salmon portions to make a simply delicious meal. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic. Season salmon with pepper and a pinch of salt. Put portions in skin side up for four minutes and then flip and cook for another four minutes. Squeeze some lemon juice onto the salmon. You can substitute olive oil for butter.
How to pick a salmon: There are 5 varieties of commercially available wild Pacific Salmon. Each of these 5 have their virtues. In terms of richness, king salmon (otherwise known as chinook) is king. King salmon are the largest of the five species and are prized for their high oil content and are the salmon frequently featured on upscale restaurant menus. Sockeye salmon is also very flavorful and is known for its distinctive bright red flesh color and complex, robust flavor. Coho salmon (which is frequently called silver salmon) is known for its milder flavor. Families with children enjoy coho salmon but kids like the mild flavor. Coho salmon is best when line-caught like our Alaska Gold salmon. Versatile, coho salmon is a great option to grill or poach. It’s also the perfect salmon with which to make gravlax. If you smoke salmon or cure salmon at home, coho salmon is ideal. Keta salmon is also called chum salmon or dog salmon because it was fed to sled dogs. Though maligned as dog food, when caught in its silver bright color, keta salmon has a mild, nutty flavor, which can be quite pleasant. Pink salmon, which fishermen call “humpies” for the humpback that male pink salmon develop when spawning, is the most populous salmon. It cans and smokes well, which is how you’ll most frequently encounter it. Fish sold as Atlantic salmon, Scottish salmon, or New Zealand salmon is sure to be farmed salmon, as there are no commercially available wild Atlantic salmon in the United States and farmed salmon were introduced to New Zealand. Our Alaska Gold salmon is all wild-caught in the cold, clear waters of Alaska, which has sustainable fishing written into the state constitution. It’s quicker and less expensive to produce a farmed salmon than catching a wild salmon, but quality, in addition to environmental and ethical concerns factor into that lower price. Some people find farmed salmon flabby and off tasting. We find our wild-caught Alaska Gold salmon to have superior flavor, color and a firmer texture. In addition, with state of the art freezing technology, our Alaska Gold salmon can be enjoyed year-round. We recommend storing in your home freezer for no longer than 3 months. Ideally, use the coldest setting on your freezer. Those with dedicated meat/seafood freezers will get longer shelf life on their seafood because opening and shutting the door on your freezer presents slight temperature changes, which are second only to poor boat and dockside handling in terms of reducing quality in seafood.
Every once in a while, customers request a whole salmon. We have thought of offering whole salmon through our website. However, how would we box it in a manner suitable for a home consumer? Each salmon weighs a different amount. It would be difficult to make a consistent size package every time. Also, if we’re feeding a family of 5 to 6, then a whole salmon might make sense. But most people are feeding two to four people at mealtime and usually don’t have the space in their kitchen to “break down” a salmon. Filleting and “breaking down” a salmon is much more difficult than it looks. So we do that all for you. We offer individually vacuum-sealed portion packages. The most popular are our 8-ounce king salmon portions and our 6-ounce coho salmon portions. For those filling their freezers or sharing with friends to buy for a larger group, we offer discounted prices on our bulk salmon offerings. We also offer what we call fillets but most customers will identify as “sides.” These are the whole side of the salmon. These wild coho salmon sides are ideal for making gravlax and for grilling. Just contact us with any questions on the ideal amount to order.
Many of you we’ve never spoken a word to. With others, you call in, tell us about your families, your dinners, your recipes, your pets, your favorite musicians, the weather where you live, and many other things. We know some of you pretty well. To some of you, we’re like the local fish monger, who you go chat with while buying fish although, in most cases, we’re far away.
Megan and I will even occasionally have customers on the phone ask us if we’re fishermen, too. The short answer is no. We’re too busy fielding calls, answering emails, making sure fish gets to the right place. We work for the fishermen.
However, I spent some time this summer on a trolling boat with one of our fishermen/owners, Carter Hughes, who fishes on the 36-foot F/V Astrolabe. I did my best as a deckhand, learning the tricks of the trade, seeing the fishing life up close and personal. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
Over the next few months, I’ll share some stories from my journal that details my days out trolling for salmon.
Today, since there’s snow on the ground, I wanted to share a story from my journal about a delicious chowder I had out to sea that warmed my heart. Paul’s Chowder.
We pass Cape Amelia and Sea Lion Rocks, watching sea lions hauling out on the prehistoric-looking coast.
Baranof Island is 90 miles long and Kruzof maybe 25 miles. Kruzof looks so tiny on a map, but it takes hours to make our way to Salisbury Sound, which separates Kruzof from Chichagof Island.
Chichagof and Baranof are two of the ABC islands (Admiralty being the third) the most densely populated areas for coastal brown bears on the planet. Kruzof, though smaller and uninhabited–a few logging roads and forest service cabins here and there—also has plenty of brown bear. It’s a wild coast where the rare Alaskan surfer or hunter might tread a path through the dense wilderness in pursuit of adventure.
“It looks small on a map because Alaska is so huge,” Carter nudges me into an epiphany that repeats itself every time I’m up in the 49th state. Big Country.
By 1:30, we can see the Khaz Peninsula in sight of a cove in which Carter is planning to anchor.
A little before 6, Carter aims the auto-pilot to tack toward the tiny islands surrounding the Khaz Peninsula and Khaz Head, an imposing peak that looks down at us. We continue trolling while Carter cooks dinner, a halibut/salmon chowder, the recipe for which came from Paul Olson, who fishes on the F/V Pacific Flyer, and is an environmental lawyer when he’s not out trolling. In our co-op, fishermen bring a whole range of backgrounds—there are lots of schoolteachers, a few former investment bankers, even a retired astronaut. Carpenters, chemists, poets, lifers (those who represent multiple generations in the fishing business). We have a few fishermen/owners who hail from New York City who gave up that fast-paced life of riches for the rich life of Sitka Sound. A few decades ago, a Swiss banker turned author and his world-touring concert pianist spouse made their way to Sitka to live this unique lifestyle, too–their children continue the fishing tradition.
Fishing is still one of those last refuges where you can be about as close as possible, at least in 2017, to a free and wild existence that truly demands just about everything. Those who seek it out are truly hardy souls, but they’re rewarded with the sights of some beautiful country and working in a profession that means something at the end of the day. We feed people. Which is sacred.
We pull the gear before 8. Fairly slow fishing with no feed in the water that we can see. We were struggling to get out of a dead zone that seemed to be following us. We felt better once we stopped, knowing that tomorrow would be another day.
I’ve been blessed with good weather on this trip, but a slight drizzle mixed with the wind chills my bones.
Paul’s chowder is the perfect tonic to warm me up and I wolf it down. Carter shows me his journal where he had scrawled the recipe.
Easy Salmon—one 1-pound package (Our Easy Salmon can be used in combination or in lieu of the bacon)
1/2 onion, diced
4-6 red potatoes, diced
2 Carrots, diced
4 cups Chicken broth
1 cup cream (milk or half & half will be too thin)
1 Celery stock, diced
Cook bacon pieces separately. Heat 1 to 2 cups chicken broth. At same time saute veggies in olive oil. Add bacon to chicken broth and mix in some thyme, tarragon and dill. When veggies are 2/3 done, add to chicken broth and spike again with chopped seasonings. When veggies are fully cooked spike again with chopped seasonings and add Easy Salmon and halibut. When fish is cooked add cream and simmer for 15 minutes (don’t boil cream!).
Carter is quite a cook and I look forward to sharing more galley recipes and fishing stories from the F/V Astrolabe over the next few months.