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Wild Salmon Tasting Notes

Spring is here and it’s time to grill some salmon.

We’d like to encourage our customers to try different species of our salmon. Everything we do is quality and all of our line-caught salmon are the pinnacle of quality. We offer these tasting notes to help you choose:

Of the Pacific wild salmon that we sell, there are king salmon. With meat colors ranging from orange-red to creamy white and everything in between, mostly depending on the ratio of shrimp and krill to prey fish they are eating, these are the largest and least numerous of the Pacific salmon. King salmon tend to return to bigger river systems to spawn and to prepare for this journey up big, fast-moving streams, they build up a lot of what for us are the good fats loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3s. The king salmon’s big flake and succulent, rich flavor and very high oil content make them very much in demand and the most popular seafood item we sell. The best way to cook would be a slow grill at 275° F over a flavorful hardwood like alder or cedar. Capers or mustard-y acidic sauces will help balance out the fish flavor of a king salmon. 

A very close second in popularity is our coho salmon. Milder and more delicate, with a peachy orange color, coho salmon’s quality and flavor benefit greatly from being line-caught, as their delicate meat, prized for pairing with fine meals, is kept in pristine condition with the dedicated handling procedures practiced on trolling boats. Like king salmon, coho salmon are rich in oils and coho salmon are particularly rich in vitamin D, while being leaner than king salmon. Their mild flavor makes them easy to pair with all kinds of recipes and a family favorite and pleasing also to picky eaters and children alike. The coho is more delicate and a little bit more prone to overcooking than king salmon. Both the coho salmon portions we sell and the larger fillets are thinner than king salmon, but this thinner fillet can mean a more consistent cook throughout the fish, and some of our customers, myself included, prefer the thinner coho salmon fillets and portions over the king salmon for this reason. (I also really like the milder flavor of the coho.) Once again, low and slow on the grill is the way to go to avoid overcooking.

Another species of salmon that benefits from being line-caught is keta salmon. Most keta salmon are caught in nets as they approach streams and the end of their lives with poor meat quality, making them eventually sold in lower-end markets. In contrast, our Alaska Gold wild keta salmon are caught on hook and line. By definition, line-caught salmon are actively feeding and at the peak of their quality.The difference in being line-caught cannot be underestimated. Our Alaska Gold keta salmon are very mild, moist, and delicious, and can be used in a variety of recipes, like this Keta Salmon Curry with Lemongrass and Galanga Recipe or this Sweet Chili Keta Salmon recipe. One of the best ways to enjoy keta salmon is slow-grilled with teriyaki sauce. A blackening seasoning or creamy sauces like those used for a Halibut Olympia recipe also work well with our keta salmon.

Wild Sockeye Salmon from Alaska
Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon. Photo courtesy of Alaska Seafood.

Have you tried our sockeye salmon?? Sockeye salmon is one of the more numerous Alaskan salmon. They are prized for their deep red color, firm texture and robust flavor. They are plankton eaters and do not usually take hooks, so they are rarely caught on hook and line. From time to time we offer the rare line-caught sockeye salmon we catch for sale on the Alaska Gold website. This is a really, really special offering, as less than 1/100th of 1% of sockeye salmon available in stores are caught on hook and line and benefit from both the care given to each fish that is typical for a line-caught salmon and also being caught in a state of active feeding. Sockeye salmon, because of their bold flavor, can hold their own with super-flavorful spices and sauces. DO NOT MISS this wonderful line-caught sockeye salmon!

Quality starts in the water. The initial condition of the fish establishes the upper limit of it’s quality. From there it can only be degraded, not improved- thus a net-caught salmon, typically caught near the river mouth, won’t match the quality of a line-caught salmon on the open ocean.

Enjoy,

The Folks at Alaska Gold Seafood

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One Fish At A Time

Troll-caught Salmon

The Beauty of Line-caught Salmon

We small boat hook and line fishermen catch and process each fish One Hook One Fish At A Time. Hook and line fishing, otherwise known as trolling for salmon, is a traditional way of fishing that results in an extremely high quality salmon. Our line-caught wild salmon are caught, bled, processed and put on ice within minutes of being caught. Our catch methods and handling procedures are unparalleled in the industry.

This video illustrates what is special about fishing with hook and line methods.

The first great benefit of a line-caught wild salmon is that a salmon caught on hook and line is by definition actively feeding and therefore at the peak of their quality and especially loaded with the healthy nutrients that we associate with wild salmon. The second great attribute of a line-caught wild salmon is the great care put into making the fish special, as catching fish on hook and line gives the fisherman time to take care of the fish.

Here’s how it works:

Each of us fishermen has techniques that we have gained over many years and sometimes passed along in families through generations of fishing. Using our knowledge of where freely migrating and actively feeding fish might be, we fishermen head out in our boats and, once at waters we deem to be appropriate for weather and tide conditions, troll with lures or baited hooks at slow speeds. Typically, we try to troll at the speed that the salmon we are catching would be swimming. This not only makes the lures more appealing but minimizes stress on the fish, making for a better quality fish. Minimizing stress on the fish reduces the amount of lactic acid released in the fish, which can cause an off flavor. Through years of trial and error, we fishermen have found the right combination of line, lures and boat speeds to find the right fish. Then, with great care, handling each fish as if it were to be served on our own dinner tables, take the fish we catch back to town for delivery at our fishermen-owned fish plant.

We hook and line fishermen have a deep connection with the ocean and an expansive knowledge of where and how to find the biting salmon. Once a fish is on the line, we frequently know what type of fish it is and how big it might be. We minimize bycatch with our knowledge of where to fish and by pinpointing species with the right lures. We bring the fish to the boat and deliver it onto the boat at the exact moment to avoid any damage to the fish. Once aboard, we bleed and gut the fish immediately. We then quickly ice or  freeze the fish capturing the fish in its freshest state so that you can enjoy the highest quality seafood on land.

Our One Fish At A Time philosophy produces the best quality wild-caught salmon and is good for the overall health of the fisheries. Here’s a video on our Good Catch. 

 

Troll-caught salmon