Kicking off the holiday weekend we had fabulous first-of-the-season Copper River Salmon.
King or Chinook salmon is the most prized salmon species. It's generally available beginning in Mid-May and Copper River Salmon and must travel 300 miles from where they spend their adult lives in the ocean, to get back to their spawning grounds in the Copper River basin and estuaries. To survive the journey these salmon accumulate an exceptional amount of fat giving them fuel for the their journey. Or if they take a detour to your plate, giving their meat fantastic flavor and silky mouthfeel. This fish also has one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, making the gourmet experience a healthy one, too.
We prepared our pristine Copper River King salmon in two ways (actually three if you count the lefotvers pasta!) The first meal we seasoned the salmon with one of the spice rubs in the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Quick and Easy Rubs and Marinades brochure. This packet had lots of information, on the sustainability issues, the health of the fishery, and of course, recipes. The second preparation was the Vieux Carré Cured Lox.
Sweet-Smoky-Spicy Alaska Salmon Rub - recipe courtesy of ASMI
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (Pimentón)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspon red chili flakes
I used very thin cedar papers on our indoor grill. This rub and the rich King salmon along with the slightest hint of cedar - just heavenly.
One of our most-used wedding gifts, the DēLonghi indoor grill.
BBQ 25 Joins the Party
Another exciting find is the Grilled Vegetable Marinade recipe in Adam Perry Lang's BBQ 25. This book is a collection of Lang's 25 favorite recipes and if my first experience using it is typical, I will go back to these time and again as he promises.
Perhaps because Lang is a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) grad, there are serious techniques and precise instructions here. He calls it recipes from his spontaneous side though only a CIA grad would think of a marinade with over a dozen ingredients as "spontaneous." The good news is that the recipes produce good results and aren't hard, even if they may look complex. The book is divided into Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, and Fish & Misc., chapters. There's a forward by Jamie Oliver, an Intro from the chef explaining how simple and straightforward it is, then two pages covering 24 techniques used throughout the book (including two recipes and a visual glossary of tools recommended throughout.) The tips cover Before Cooking, During Cooking, After Cooking, Pre-grilling, Direct Grilling, Indirect Grilling. Simple?
Each section includes at least one quick recipe, and guidance like "Butcher over supermarket; Local over outsourced, Organic over other" and little technique illustrations accompany every recipe.
With 13 ingredients in the marinade for vegetables, 5 ingredients for a garnish and instructions for marinating, basting and making sauce from the marinade, this "simple" recipe may sound complex. Considering that most vegetables are light on umami, the techniques used, the flavors as well as your choice of vegetables, all add flavor. For our BBQ Sunday, I doubled the marinade, used red, orange and yellow bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, asparagus, red onion, and fennel. The second day I made it again and added Earthy Delights Crema Balsamic. Tonight's dinner was boneless shortribs marinated in this same "vegetable" marinade, and the last of yesterday's vegetables. I used Lang's reduction technique and broiled the veg in the oven, saucing them as I served over rice. Delicious. I'm eager to try other recipes and techniques.
As we move into grill season, don't reach for the pre-made seasonings, use BBQ 25's tips, recipes and techniques to build layers of flavor into your grilling. You'll fall in love with your grill all over again. Come back soon for more of our guest posts in the BBQ Bonanza.
Oh, I can't let you go without this final inspired flourish: the book is cardboard, with glossy photographs, and lays flat. No worries of splashed or torn pages.
Now go fire up that grill!