SEATTLE — There’s nothing more Northwest than salmon when it comes to food.
With the population of Chinook dwindling, there is a push to try to eat a more sustainable salmon.
Chef Nick Novello from Pier 57 Miners Landing convinced us that sockeye salmon is the way to go.
Sockeye salmon is super sustainable with 56.5 million returning sockeyes this year, according to Novello.
In the flavor profile, sockeye salmon has great omegas and essential oils.
“My favorite thing that I enjoy about sockeye salmon is that floral flavor of salmon,” said Novello. “You know that kind of essence of salmon is really, really there.”
Novello cooked up sockeye salmon three ways, which will be featured at their event on the pier from Oct. 14 through Nov. 30.
1. Seared wild Alaskan sockeye, corn beurre blanc, garbanzo & corn succotash
First, we need to make sure the skin is ready for searing and remove the scales. Oftentimes the fishmonger will de-scale the fish before filleting (Novello's does), but they often miss spots. After a few scrapes, voila, no more scales. You can tell they’re gone because the skin has a netting pattern to it. If needed, give the salmon a quick rinse to remove the scales, or just brush them off. Regardless of whether you rinse the fish, dry the salmon very well with paper towels. Water is the enemy of a good crisp sear.
Now is when you want to start preheating a pan for searing the salmon. For the best sear, Novello recommends an uncoated pan. If the pan is hot enough, Novello says the fish won’t stick.
Also, pick a pan that’s fairly close in size to the piece of fish. Then preheat for about 3-5 minutes (three minutes for gas stoves, five for electric).
Once the pan is heated and you’re ready to cook, dab one last time for any excess moisture on the skin.
- Salt the skin of the salmon, a 6 oz sockeye cut with skin on. Gently rub the skin with the salt; that will dehydrate it more and crisp it up.
- Place the sockeye skin side down in the pan. Make sure the oil is at smoking point, and use canola oil.
- Allow the cook to creep up the sides of the fish, watch it, have your fish spatula ready, and gently flip to not splat oil.
- Allow the salmon to cook skin side up to finish cooking, but you have done most of the cooking skin side down, so this should be quicker.
- Remove when finished, place on paper towels, and reserve for plating.
Corn beurre blanc
- 1-2 corn cobs, corn shaved from cob
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallots, roughly 2 medium-sized shallots
- 2-3 leaves sages
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
Place corn in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the white wine, salt, garlic, shallot and sage to the pan and cook for 45 minutes. Allow the wine to reduce and poach the corn. Once the wine has almost dissipated, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Place the warm unblended corn into a blender, pulse several times then add in the cold butter. This is called “mounting with butter” as the cold butter cools the sauce while the fat emulsifies the sauce, smoothing to perfection.
Put it all together. Add your corn beurre banc to a coupe plate, add your pan-seared veggies – we love the garbanzo beans and carrots with corn. Then top with your pan-seared Bristol Bay sockeye salmon.
2. Wild red salmon poke
In a medium-sized bowl combine diced salmon, soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha and sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate.
Combine vinegar, water, honey, salt and chili flakes in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling turn off heat, add cucumber slices and stir.
Let rest 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Add sushi rice to bowl
- Top with marinated poke Bristol Bay sockeye
- Top with toppings, including Nori strips, green garbanzo beans, togarashi and edamame.
3. Bristol Bay wild Alaskan sockeye with butter & lemon, wild rice pilaf, and vegetables
- Remove Alaska Sockeye salmon from refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking. Slice package, drain liquid, and allow to rest on a paper towel skin side down. This will dry the skin.
- Slice skin on Bristol Bay sockeye to desired size, such as 6 oz. A typical Bristol sockeye will have four portions per fillet.
- Brush grill rack with oil. Drizzle olive oil onto skin side and top of salmon; sprinkle generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place salmon on preheated grill, skin side down. Grill salmon uncovered five minutes. Using a fish spatula carefully turn fish over. Grill until fish just begins to flake in center, about four to five minutes longer.
Transfer salmon to platter and serve immediately with your favorite seasonal vegetables.
Note: if you are using a wood-burning or charcoal grill, leave uncovered. Only cover if using gas grill.
Wild Rice Pilaf
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 large carrot, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
- kosher salt
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, leaves minced
Bring chicken broth, bay leaves, and 1 bundle thyme to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed wild rice, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is plump and tender and has absorbed most liquid, 40 minutes. Keep covered to keep warm and set aside.
Rinse white rice in mesh strainer until water runs clear to remove excess starch and drain completely.
Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, about two minutes. Add onion, carrot, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about four minutes.
Add rinsed white rice and stir to coat grains with butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until grains begin to turn translucent, about three minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups boiling water and second thyme bundle to rice and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle cranberries evenly over rice, and cover. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 18 minutes. Fluff rice with fork off heat.
Combine wild rice, white rice mixture, pecans, and parsley in large bowl. Toss with large spoon or rubber spatula and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.