Shaking up SALMON

From grilling to baking, salmon is a healthy, delicious and easy-to-prepare dish. But unless you’re discovering new ways to fix the fish, it’s easy to fall into a rut with the same, basic recipes. For your next salmon night, consider changing things up with one of these five inventive recipes — all courtesy of top Alaska chefs.

Pancetta-Wrapped King Salmon Kebabs
Recipe by LaDonna Rose Gundersen, an Alaskan fisherwoman and cookbook author (ladonnarose.com); Photo credit Ole Gunderson.

For the rosemary oil:
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 Tbs for grill
• 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
• 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For the salmon:
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 1½ pounds king, coho or sockeye salmon, skin and pin bones removed, cut into 1½-inch chunks
• 4 oz pancetta, thinly sliced

Heat a grill or stovetop grill pan to medium heat.

Make the rosemary oil: In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil, rosemary and garlic over medium-low heat until the garlic sizzles and begins to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the red pepper flakes. Divide oil between two small bowls with a rosemary sprig in each and let cool to room temperature.

Make the salmon: In a large bowl, combine remaining tablespoon oil and salmon. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and a few grinds of black pepper. On a work surface, set out rows of 3 salmon chunks. Unroll pancetta slices into strips. Working with one chunk at a time, wrap strips once or twice around salmon. Skewer each row of salmon with chunks slightly separated.

Brush grill grate with oil. Place kebabs on grate, cook turning once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Place kebabs on plates and serve with rosemary oil.

Salmon Cakes
Recipe by Chef Rachel & Chef Lexa, Bridge Seafood Restaurant (bridgeseafood.com)

Makes 8 salmon cakes

• 1 lb salmon spoon meat, poached in vacubag or Ziploc
to 125 degrees
• ¼ cup onion, minced
• 2 Tbs finely chopped parsley leaves
• 2 Tbs lemon juice
• 2 Tbs mayonnaise
• 1 egg
• ¾ cup panko crumbs (+ 4 Tbs set aside)
• ½ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp white pepper
• Vegetable oil for sautéing

To form cakes, mix salmon with egg, panko crumbs, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Scoop ¼ cup mixture at a time from bowl and form into 8 salmon cakes. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes so moisture will evaporate.

Gently dredge in remaining panko crumbs.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook salmon cakes until golden brown, about 3 minutes; flip and continue for additional 3 minutes.

Chefs’ note: We paired our cakes with a dill creme fraiche, pickled cucumbers and red onions. These salmon cakes also pair beautifully with fresh greens and a mustard vinaigrette or completely on their own. Try turning them into sliders, using a brioche bun and remoulade sauce. These cakes freeze well and simply need to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frying.

Alaska Salmon and Goat Cheese Tart
Recipe and photo courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (alaskaseafood.org)

Serves 6-8

• 2 cups flour
• Pinch salt
• 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
• 2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)
• Chilled water, for mixing

Filling:
• 1 (14.75 oz) can or 2 (7.5 oz) cans red or pink Alaska salmon
• 8 oz thin asparagus spears, trimmed and halved
• 3.5 oz goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
• 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 3 large eggs
• 1 1/3 cup crème fraiche
• 1 Tbs chopped fresh chives or parsley
• Freshly ground black pepper

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the vegetable fat with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the poppy seeds, if using. Stir in just enough chilled water to make a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead lightly until smooth, then wrap in parchment paper and chill for 10-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (conventional oven) or 350 degrees (convection). Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to line the bottom and sides of a small (7”x11”) oblong tart tin. Top pastry with a piece of foil, add a layer of dried beans to bake ‘blind’ (without a filling) for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, remove the foil and beans. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 (conventional) or 325 (convection).

Drain the salmon; remove the skin and bones, if desired. Break into large chunks and arrange on the pastry. Lightly cook the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes; rinse with cold water and drain. Arrange asparagus on the pastry along with the goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.

Beat together the eggs, crème fraiche and herbs. Season with pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set. Serve warm or cold.

Cook’s tip: Try not to handle the pastry too much – it should be kept as cool as possible to give a light, crisp finish.

Smoked Salmon Chowder
Recipe courtesy of Gwin’s Lodge (gwinslodge.com)

Makes 8 bowls

• 1 and ½ lbs smoked salmon (sockeye preferred), flaked
• 10 strips raw bacon
• 2 large onions
• 4 stalks celery
• 3 carrots, finely chopped
• 5 green onions, finely diced
• 6 cups fish broth (water mixed with fish base)
• 8 red potatoes, chopped
• ¾ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 cup butter
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 1 ½ Tbs dry dill
• 1 ½ cups corn kernels
• 1 cup flour
• 1/3 Tbs black pepper
• 5 cups milk
• ¾ cup white wine

Chop bacon and sauté in a large pot with onions, celery, carrots, green onions and parsley for about 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Slowly add in 1/2 cup water and cover for 1 minute. Add spices and fish broth and simmer until carrots are tender. Add the chopped red potatoes and simmer until tender. In a separate saucepan, mix the butter and flour over medium heat and stir to make a roux, or paste. Before adding this mixture to the pot, add a few large spoonfuls of the hot broth to the roux for thinning and bring it to the proper temperature. Add this thinned roux to the pot with vegetables and broth. Stir thoroughly and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk, stir and bring to a simmer, allowing it to thicken slightly. Add white wine, lemon juice, corn, and flaked salmon. Continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the desired thickness is obtained. A little water may be added if chowder becomes too thick.

Salmon Salad Wonton Cups with Ginger-Lime Dressing
Recipe by LaDonna Rose Gundersen, an Alaskan fisherwoman and cookbook author (ladonnarose.com); Photo credit: Ole Gunderson

Makes 2 ½ dozen

• 30 wonton wrappers
• 1 Tbs olive oil
• 2 (6- to 7-ounce) cans salmon, drained
• ½ cup green onion, chopped
• ½ cup red bell pepper, diced

For the ginger-lime dressing:
• 1 Tbs lime juice
• 1 Tbs soy sauce
• 1 Tbs rice vinegar
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp ginger, finely minced
• 1 tsp Thai garlic chili pepper sauce or your favorite hot sauce
• 1 tsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

For the wontons: Lightly grease 30 mini muffin cups. Place center of wonton wrapper in wells of prepared pan to form a cup, allowing remainder of wrapper to extend above the pan. Bake in the oven 7 to 9 minutes, until crisp and lightly brown.

For the dressing: Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir together well. Set aside. Place the salmon in a medium bowl, add green onion, red bell pepper and the ginger lime dressing, stirring to combine. Drain off excess liquid.

To serve, spoon mixture into baked wonton cups.