We have 41 days left in our glorious local salmon season. Siren SeaSA is celebrating with Bodega Bay king salmon for all drops this week. I have a couple of phone dates with some salmon fishermen this afternoon that will hopefully yield some blog-worthy stories. If you are interested in checking out past information and recipes, click on the salmon category below. Earlier this week I posted a recipe for Maple Glazed Salmon with Sage Pancetta Delicata Squash. You can also check out the recipe forum to see what other subscribers are up to.
Fall is here. Well, where I live it does’t quite feel like it just yet, but I hear that the bay area is starting to get that lovely cold snap in the air. I have a delicata squash obsession. Part of it is the ease of preparation (You eat the skin. No peeling!), but the larger part of it is the nutty sweet taste. The Davis Food Co-Op has had these beauties for the last couple of weeks and I have already consumed at least 10 lbs of them. I tend to go on a delicata binge when they show up. (BONUS HINT: Roast some delicata squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix some chevre with curry powder. Smear the squash pieces with curry chevre and go NUTS. Lunch of champions!)
This is one of those go-to weeknight meals that will take you 30 minutes start to finish, but you wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to guests. It is just that tasty.
Maple Glazed Salmon with Pancetta and Sage Delicata Squash
1 large delicata squash
2 Tbsp plus pure maple syrup
2 tsp olive oil
2 smashed whole garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1 lb salmon fillet, portioned into two 8 ounce pieces (Half share, double this recipe for a full share)
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
5-8 whole sage leaves
2 oz. pancetta, sliced into thin strips
1. Arrange your oven so that you have one rack in the top third of the oven and one rack in the bottom third. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut off and discard the ends. Cut the squash into 1/2 thick moon-shaped pieces.
3. On a metal roasting pan with raised edges, toss the squash with 2 tsp olive oil, garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Arrange so that every piece of squash contacts the pan on one side. You can nest them together, but don’t stack them.
4. Bake the squash on the bottom rack of the oven for 7 minutes.
5. While the squash is cooking, combine 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Arrange the salmon fillets skin-side down on a roasting pan with a raised edge. Brush the fillets generously with the maple mustard mixture.
6. Remove the squash from the oven and flip each piece over so that the roasted side is now up. Sprinkle the sage leaves and pancetta strips on top. Return the squash to the oven to cook for an additional 6 minutes.
7. Remove the squash from the oven and stir, mixing the sage and pancetta into the squash. Return the pan to the bottom rack of the oven to finish while the salmon cooks. Place the salmon fillets on the top rack of the oven and cook until opaque, approximately 6-8 minutes.
8. Remove both pans from the oven and allow to cool slightly before plating. Remember to remove the garlic cloves from the squash prior to serving.
We are fortunate to have a long salmon season this year. Last year, salmon season and Fall did not quite meet up, which is a shame really. Salmon pairs beautifully with those late season tomatoes that your garden is still kicking out, as well as the early squash that has been showing up and encouraging you to use more sage. Click on the salmon category below to see the source information and past recipes. Head on over to the recipe forum to see what other subscribers have done with their salmon.
After a monthlong hiatus, salmon season is back! The fishing has been great this week and I am happy to report that the fish are beautiful. Tony Rivas, of fish plant legend, actually serenaded the whole fish shares that went out this week. “You are so beautiful, to meeeeeeeeee!” I really need to record him doing this, as it is a regular occurrence and it makes me laugh every time. Like an idiot.
Your salmon will come to you with the pin bones in, the skin on, and the scales off.Make sure to keep it nice and cold. The best way to do that is to put it on ice in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Add your ideas over in the recipe forum. This week I pan-seared my fillets and topped them with herb butter. It was perfect and I will be doing it again with my next round of fillets. Mmmmmmmm
It’s finally here! The local salmon season can be elusive and the timing can be tricky. This year we will have one month on (May!) followed by one month off (June!) and then a possible three month period of glorious salmon fishing (July through September). The local salmon population is watched very closely and seasons are scheduled based on the observations made by NOAA and the Department of Fish and Game.
Your salmon will come to you with the pin bones in, the skin on, and the scales off.Make sure to keep it nice and cold. The best way to do that is to put it on ice in the coldest part of your refrigerator. I will be speaking with salmon fishermen this week and I will get some of that info up on the blog this week.
Here are some salmon links:
Can you believe it’s the last week of the first series? I feel like I have been doing this for years, but at the same time, it feels like the first drop happened yesterday. This has been SO FUN for me, but I will write more about that after this week’s drop. For now, we must discuss the salmon. Well, maybe we first need to address the lack of black cod.
I wanted to have hook and line black cod this week. Beautiful, buttery, crazy-rich black cod. Sometimes the fisherman doesn’t return phone calls. Just like a crappy boyfriend. There really is just one guy catching this fish hook and line, and unlike a crappy boyfriend I couldn’t ditch him, watch Sex and the City, drink wine, go out dancing, and replace him. So, I got too nervous to wait and went to plan B: Salmon. Not a bad plan B, especially since salmon part 1 was among the best salmon I have ever tasted. I hope you will all forgive me for failing to source black cod. It is such a tasty fish. I am making it a priority when Siren returns on September 10th. You should sign up for that. It’ll be fun.
This week, we have a tasty salmon recipe from Nate Keller, Executive Chef at Gastronaut, a fantastic and fun catering company. Gastronaut focuses on creative menus for corporate and event clients made with local and sustainable ingredients. The menus are seriously fun. I follow them on Twitter and get really jealous. Probably because I work in a fish plant whose version of a catered lunch is one of the employees going to the supermarket to pick up a sheet cake that says, “Happy Birthday August Babies.” I see a menu that includes fried chicken, mac and cheese, and watermelon salad and I want to run away to join the start-up circus.
I met Nate and his adorable business partner Mirit Cohen at Eat Retreat. You know, that weekend where I met all of the awesome people IN THE WORLD. From Nate’s Gastronaut bio:
“Nate is a former Google Executive Chef, Culinary Institute of America graduate, and lover of all things food. He began cooking at a very young age, using only the finest ingredients. He grew up in Sacramento, the heart of California’s central valley growing region, which gave him access to the local ingredients that shape the way he creates each dish. Nate is a proponent of local cooking and eating, as well as sustainable farming. He helped cultivate a culture of local food values as he opened and became the first Executive Chef of Google’s Cafe 150, which sourced all of its ingredients from within 150 miles of campus. While opening several other restaurants for Google in Mountain View, New York and San Francisco, Nate developed relationships with farmers and artisan food producers throughout the Bay Area and the Hudson Valley. Opportunities to cook around the world over the last 13 years helped Nate expand his cultural food knowledge to encompass a wide variety of fares and gastronomic techniques. He loves snowboarding, cooking at home, playing with his dog, and kiteboarding.”
Street cred: established. When I arrived at Eat Retreat, Nate was prepping a whole pig for the spit while I was getting my raw bar ready. In fact, Nate spent the whole weekend cooking and you could tell that he loved every minute. Everything we ate was incredible. You should try this recipe, based on my experience with Nate’s food, you will be very glad that you did.
NOTE: This will use HALF of the salmon you are receiving on Saturday. Double it if you want to use it all!
Seared Wild Salmon with Grilled Bread Salad and Parsley Anchovy Aioli
2 portions wild salmon, skin on
For bread salad:
1 loaf crusty sourdough bread (sliced one inch thick)
1 avocado (diced half inch)
1 red onion (julienned)
1 zucchini or other summer squash (sliced in half-inch planks)
1 handful arugula (washed)
1 tbls red wine vinegar
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
For Parsley Anchovy Aioli:
2 egg yolks
1/2 bunch parsley (washed and picked)
1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
2 anchovy fillets
1 tbls Dijon mustard
1 cup vegetable oil (light olive oil works best)
Prepare all ingredients
Start the aioli first. Put egg yolks in a food processor with garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard and parsley and puree on high until egg yolks turn from dark to very light yellow and double in volume. Slowly start to add oil, a few drops at a time to emulsify. Work quickly to avoid aioli from over heating. Continue to add oil until mixture thickens. If aioli gets too thick so oil is not incorporating, add a few drops of ice water to loosen. When all oil is incorporated, season with lemon juice, Tobasco and Worchester sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done up to 24 hours before use.
Heat grill and season slices of sourdough and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until bread is bread is slightly toasted and zucchini is slightly browned. Take off grill and cool. When cool, dice bread into inch cubes and zucchini into half-inch cubes. Toss bread and zucchini with arugula, julienned red onion, avocado and red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat sauté pan over high heat. When hot, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and season skin side with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot and slightly smoking, add salmon, skin-side first. It should sizzle and not stick to the pan. Immediately turn the heat down to medium-low and crisp the skin. When skin is crispy and salmon is half cooked, season the flesh side with salt and pepper and turn salmon over to finish cooking to medium-rare. When salmon is medium-rare, remove from pan. Place bread salad on plate, place salmon on top, and drizzle with parsley anchovy aioli. Enjoy with a nice Rosé.
On Saturday night I nervously check my email, Twitter, and Facebook. I ignore my dinner companions and forget how to make conversation. I get nervous like I’m waiting to hear back from an audition. I’m not. I’m waiting to hear the answer to the all-important post-drop question: How’s the fish?
The verdict on the King salmon: fantastic.
Here is some of the feedback and some pretty pictures of what Siren SeaSA’s subscribers did with this week’s fish.
Mary and Harry Keller loved the recipe from The Year in Food. Dining outside in the Sierras made it even better. Beautiful.
Here is a round-up of what Siren SeaSA subscribers had to say on Twitter:
Kind words from @FabFoodLover
This week’s @SirenSeaSA delivery of fresh king salmon was so darn good I had to stop myself from hoovering the whole thing in under 5 mins.
Pan fried by @rachelannyes
Very much looking forward to @SirenSeaSA salmon for dinner–with backyard young onions, favas, fennel, celery root, meyer lemons.
Astonishing salmon dinner from @SirenSeaSA. I’ll never forget it. Thank the fisherpeople and the hairnet wearers for us. Sublime texture.
@SirenSeaSA Quickly cast iron pan fried your salmon in butter. Skin was crazy delicious. Thanks for leaving skin on, sassy filet ladies!
Cedar plank grilling from @jeannebee
Bodega Bay salmon fr @SirenSeaSA , best I’ve ever had. Grilled on cedar plank, seasoned w/ spicy rub, brushed w/ maple syrup. Amazing!
An awesome complement from @mcs3000
@SirenSeaSA best. salmon. ever. rivals copper river.
My buddies at Mission Gastroclub (@gastroclub) are working some serious magic with their 11 pound whole fish. Eric (@beerandpork) made salmon head cheese. Chef Neil Davidson (@theneild) served up pan-seared fillet with Romano beans and creamy polenta at tonight’s dinner.
This fishmongeress is feeling lucky to have such a creative and kind group of subscribers. I cannot wait to share this week’s HALIBUT with you all. That’s right, halibut week is here and a really sweet husband and wife team are out catching our fish. Check back tomorrow night to learn why there is no gaffing on their boat. Maybe I’ll also explain what gaffing is.
Your salmon will come to you in a plastic bag, cut into 8 oz. portions with the skin on and the pin bones in. The pin bones were left in because wild salmon is softer than the aquacultured variety (thankfully) and does not travel well without the pin bones. Mushy salmon is just so sad. Removing pin bones is easily accomplished with needle nose pliers or tweezers. Here is a great little video from CHOW on pin bone removal. The skin is still on the fillet, but the scales have been removed. The skin is delicious. You should eat it!
If you plan on eating the salmon raw, please be aware that raw salmon can occasionally harbor roundworm larvae. There are two ways to kill any parasites. You can cook the salmon or you can freeze it. Cooking is pretty self-explanatory, but freezing to kill parasites can get a bit complicated. If you are planning on sashimi, please check out the FDA’s freezing guidelines below.
“Freezing and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 7 days (total time), or
freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours, or
freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours
is sufficient to kill parasites. FDA’s Food Code recommends these freezing conditions to retailers who provide fish intended for raw consumption.”
Ice ice ice! When you get your salmon fillet home, keep it in the plastic bag and put that bag in a bowl of ice. Surround the fish in ice, but avoid direct contact between the flesh and the ice. The plastic bag takes care of that problem. Keep the bowl in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org
See you Saturday!
Salmon season is weird this year. Even the guys receiving fish at the dock are having trouble keeping track of when it is open and when it is closed. Five days on and two days off, or is it four days on and three days off? Does Fish & Game even know? When the season was on, the weather acted up. Trying to get salmon was a sad proposition until this week. It seems like every boat that went out brought something back. In most cases, it was a small quantity of salmon, around three fish. WE’LL TAKE IT. The sun was shining and the winds were hospitable.
This is the first salmon season around here in three years. The Department of Fish and Game carefully monitors the salmon population and decides if any sport or commercial salmon fishing will be permitted. Fish that come from hatcheries are marked prior to release and tracked after they are caught. Everyone is working hard to make sure that the salmon population is healthy. I get the feeling that the fishermen, while they would like to be out catching fish, appreciate that this regulation is necessary.
No single boat pulled in enough fish to fill Siren SeaSA’s needs, so we are pulling from multiple boats. Part of our salmon this week comes from Keith Gilmore off his boat Sea Biscuit. Keith caught the fish outside of Point Arena and landed in Ft. Bragg. I had planned on sourcing exclusively from Bodega Bay, but these fish were too perfect to pass up and I really like Keith’s style. Sea Biscuit is a small boat, just about 34 feet, and was built around the turn of the century. It’s a cedar over plank double ender (meaning it has two pointy ends) that Keith inherited from his father. Keith got a degree in physics but decided that it wasn’t for him. He took over his father’s boat and began fishing for rock fish hook-and-line almost forty years ago. When his wife was expecting their first child, he took a job as a high school teacher and gave up commercial fishing. Keith retired from teaching last year and is back in the fishing game.
Keith’s fish look like they swam up to the dock and jumped into their icy bin. When picking out a good salmon, look for intact scales, clear eyes and a lack of blood. No one eats the scales, but they are a great indicator of how the fish was treated on the boat. Wild salmon flesh is fragile and soft. If you hold a salmon by the tail, the meat in the fillets will be torn. Getting bounced around in a cooler or struggling in a net causes a lot of damage to the flesh. Keith follows good on-board processing protocol and it shows. The fish are stunned (aka clubbed) as soon as they are reeled in. After they are stunned they are carefully lifted into the boat and bled. Removing all of the blood from the fish leads to tastier fillet. After bleeding, the fish is gutted and immediately put into slush ice. Keith never uses a net and does not allow the fish to struggle.
Keith plans to keep fishing year-round throughout his retirement.
Other salmon sources for week 2:
Larry Gipson F/V Kathy II Bodega Bay, CA
Chuck Wise F/V Juliet Bodega Bay, CA
Kimberley Hasselbrink makes food look sexy. Especially when she photographs it for her excellent blog, The Year in Food, which by the way, was featured on this little list. The appeal of her recipes goes beyond the gorgeous pictures. The food is seriously tasty. Kimberley’s work is also featured on Etsy’s blog and the recipe-search site Gojee. In addition to all of the impressive food stuff she does, Kimberley is a wonderfully fun girl who is always willing to help a buddy out. Like with this recipe, or with the first Siren SeaSA drop. You should subscribe to her blog and cook everything she posts. You wouldn’t regret it AND you would learn a lot from her monthly Seasonal Food Guide. It’s always full of fantastic ideas for using the best of what the farmers’ market has to offer.
I am so pleased to share this recipe with you. It’s so summery and delicious. For two large portions it calls for one pound of salmon fillet, so if you want to use the entire two pounds, please double the recipe.
SEARED SALMON WITH SHALLOT + GREEN ONION RELISH
Yield: 2 larger or 4 small servings
1 pound wild salmon fillet
1 cup chopped green onions
2/3 cup diced shallots
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped, drained capers
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-sized skillet over a medium-low flame, saute the shallots and green onions until soft, about 7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, capers and mustard with the green onions and shallots. Add the salt and pepper and mix to combine. Set aside.
Meanwhile, pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel. Lightly sprinkle each side with salt. Heat a large skillet over a high flame. When the pan is hot, coat with a thin film of oil. Place salmon, skin side down, into the hot pain, and leave undisturbed for three minutes. Flip the salmon and leave undisturbed for another three minutes, ensuring a nice crust. Remove from heat.
Top each fillet with a generous spoon of the relish. Garnish with fresh slices of green onion, if desired. Serve immediately.
This recipe first appeared on The Year in Food here.
Winemaker Chuck Mansfield of Hop Kiln Winery suggests a dry grenache rosé (Holly’s Hill 2010 El Dorado Grenache Rosé) or an acid-driven wine like a sauvignon blanc or a pinot grigio (HKG Pinot Grigio Russian River Valley, Estate 2010).
You should visit Chuck at Hop Kiln in Healdsburg. Tell him Anna sent you and then make fun of him for being really bad at Jenga. He will love you for it.