Alaska produces over 90% of the total U.S. production of salmon. The five species of Pacific salmon caught in Alaska are often known by more than one name: 1) king or chinook, 2) sockeye or red, 3) coho or silver, 4) chum or keta 5) pink. The flavor and texture of each species varies, but each fish is given the utmost care when handling to assure the highest quality.
Salmon lead a mysterious, double life. The biological term is anadromous, meaning these fish live in both fresh and salt water. Salmon spawn in over 2,000 fresh water rivers across the state. From there, the tiny fish make their way to the depths of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Salmon feed on shrimp and other small fish. They swim freely in great circuits that cover tens of thousands of miles, building up lean, firm flesh as well as fat in preparation for the spawning journey that lies ahead. When the salmon is mature, it makes its way back through the vast seas and returns to the exact place of its birth. Sometimes leaping 10 feet in the air to dear cascading waterfalls in its battle upstream, salmon lives up to its name which is derived from the Latin word, Salmo, meaning to leap.
While king and silver salmon are caught with hook and line by troll fishermen, the vast majority of salmon are caught with 1 of 2 types of nets: gill nets or purse seines. A gill net is a net of considerable length that is stretched between two points and left for a while. The fish that swim into the net are caught by the gills. The purse seine is a net that calls for teamwork with 5 people working to harvest the salmon. It takes two boats to spread a massive net that encircles salmon schools. The net is then pursed to close the bottom before the fish are pulled on board.
To assure quality, fishermen work very quickly to get salmon freshly processed. The fish are delivered to all interim holding station (often referred to as a tender), sorted and placed in iced holds. Rapid chilling, a result of on-board mechanical systems, preserves the freshness of the fish until it is further processed. Tenders deliver the fish to processing plants, all within hours of being caught.
Approximately 30-35% of the salmon catch is canned. Only top quality, fresh salmon is used for canning. Sockeye and pink salmon comprise the greatest volume of canned salmon. Canned salmon is available in several can sizes. The tall can contains about 2 cups (441 g), the half can contains about 1 cup (220 g) and the quarter can contains about 1/2 cup (106 g). For food-service use, four-pound institutional cans are available. Skinless, boneless pink salmon is also available in 6-1/2 oz. cans.
There is no waste in canned salmon and nothing is added during the processing except a pinch of salt for flavor. The liquid, skin and tiny bones are all edible and contribute good flavor and important nutrients. There is no need to remove them before using canned salmon. In fact, the bones are a source of calcium. No protein is lost during processing and the Omega-3 fatty acid level increases due to the presence of the edible skin.
Provided by Alaska Seafood
Selection & Storage: This tasty fish is available in a number of varieties, including Atlantic, Chinook (King), Chum, Pink and Sockeye.
Salmon flesh ranges in color from pale pink to vivid red. Look for Salmon with moist texture and bright skin. Refrigerate Salmon and use within 48 hours of freeze for one month.
Preparation & Eating Tips: Salmon can be baked, broiled, poached, sautéed, grilled, microwaved or smoked. It will yield a nice flake when cooked.
Microwave: Place one 6-oz. steak in a microwave-safe dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on medium for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, rotating dish 1/4 turn midway through cooking. Drain excess juices, re-cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 5 minutes. Salmon should flake when tested with a fork. Serves one.
Nutrition Facts: Serving = 3 oz. (edible portion; skinless, baked Atlantic/Coho) Calories = 150; Protein = 22gm.; Carbohydrates = 0gm.; Fat = 7gm.; Saturated Fatty Acid = 1gm.; Cholesterol = 50mg.; Sodium = 50mg.; % U.S. RDA Vitamin A = *; Vitamin C = 2%; Calcium = *; Iron = 4% *Less than 2% of the U.S. RDA
Place Salmon fillets on a greased broiler rack. Combine remaining ingredients and baste fillets. Broil 4 inches from heat for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Baste frequently. Do not turn. Salmon is cooked when it flakes with a fork. Garnish with dillweed leaf.
Provided by Try Foods International, Inc.
To Prepare Timbale
Finely slice the salmon. Cut each slice into strips, then cut each strip into cubes. Mix with shallots and olive oil. Season to taste.
To Prepare Cucumber-Crème Fraîche
Peel and cut cucumber into spaghetti on a mandolin. Mix cucumber spaghetti with salt and chill for 1/2 hour. Squeeze dry. Mix with crème fraîche and season.
To Prepare Sea Urchin Coulis:
Cut the tops off the urchins and remove the roe. Clean away the intestines and dirt. purée urchins. Season. Chill.
To Prepare Mushroom Salad
Thinly slice each variety of mushrooms, keeping them separate. Sauté garlic and shallots in the oil, be sure not to brown, just soften. Divide the oil, garlic and shallots among the mushrooms. Place each variety of mushrooms in a small container, season and cover. Bake at 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms. Check seasoning. Preserve the liquid for another use. Mix the shittake with the basil, chantrelles with tarragon, and morels with thyme.
In the center of each of the four plates place a three ounce timbale of salmon tartare, top with an even layer of cucumber-creme fraiche mixture. Cover with an even layer of Osetra caviar. Place a ring of sea urchins coulis around the timbale. Sprinkle the plate with parsley. Mound each kind of mushroom on four gaufrettes. Place three gaufrettes with three different kinds of mushrooms on each plate.
Provided by Norwegian Salmon Marketing Council
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified February 2007
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