Finally, wild salmon season is here. As I have said here before, I love spring and the bounty of fresh seafood this time of year brings. Questions, what can I do better and different than I have done before with the abundance of fresh seafood at my fingertips. Lets start with wild salmon. Wild salmon feed all winter long and fatten up in order to take the long journey up river to fresh water where they were born and spawn. Columbia River “Springer” king salmon are some of the best if not the best of all wild salmon, better than the coveted Copper River salmon. The first of the year salmon “Springer’s” are to no other salmon as Wagyu is to no other beef. Although very expensive it is well worth every penny in terms of quality. Springer’s run as high as 22 percent oil content as compared to 8 percent of wild sockeye salmon and 11 percent of all farm raised salmon. The reason for Springer’s high fat content is that they enter fresh water of the Columbia River in early spring, but hold off from spawning until fall to avoid the summer’s warm water. Because of this delayed spawning and the fact that salmon don’t eat once they enter fresh water they build up large fat reserves in order to survive until the fall. They remain in the ocean and eat until the last moment and then enter the fresh water of the river to spawn and die.
The Columbia River is a river situated in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It is the largest river in volume flowing into the Pacific ocean from the Western Hemisphere and is the second largest by volume in North America behind the Mississippi River and may exceed that at times. Because of the large volume it is called the “the Mighty River”. It is four times the volume of the Colorado River and fifteen times the volume of the Sacramento River. The river was named after Capt. Robert Gray’s ship Columbia Rediviva, the first to travel up the river.
Here is a video of Columbia River fisherman catching springer salmon and a recipe follows.
I decided to place my order with Amy from http://www.foodsinseason.com/. Foods in Season is a specialty company that provides the freshest wild and sustainable harvested food.
What to do with the Springer salmon. Personally I like some kind of smoked flavor with the salmon, kind of like if you went fishing for salmon and then sat by the riverside and started a nice warm fire to cook your salmon. The two just go together. So, today I am going to oak grill the salmon. I started with fresh asparagus, peeled them and cut the tough part off.
They will look like this.
I then took the asparagus and placed them in a baking dish and covered them with olive oil, oh yes, extra virgin olive oil. It is all right to use a mixture of blended olive oil but I personally like the flavor of extra virgin. You can save the oil and use it for another use.
Heirloom tomatoes are starting to come in season and I happen to get my hands on some heirloom cherry tomatoes. It has really been a bad year for quality tomatoes and when I started cutting into these tomatoes my mouth started to water looking at the juices flowing from the tomatoes.
Take some oyster mushrooms and trim off the stems with a pair of scissors.
Saute the oyster mushrooms in a skillet with butter and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
The salmon arrived early in the morning and are shipped in a large insulated box with many ice packets.
The salmon were so fresh they were still firm.
The fillets have such a bright color.
Season the fillets and cook them on a wood or charcoal fire in order to give them that smokey flavor they need.
Arrange the salmon on the left side of the plate and the vegetables to the left.