Saturday, July 04, 2009

Wild Sockeye

It's that wonderful time of year when wild sockeye and soft shelled crabs are available. I don't know what to do with a soft shelled crab, nor does the idea of eating one particularly appeal to me, but I sure as shooting know how to prepare a hunk of salmon.

Wegmans advertised wild sockeye for $14.99 a pound. I'm used to paying almost $20 a pound for it, so that seemed like a good deal, and well worth the trip to the store. It was $12.99 a pound when I got there, and there wasn't much left, but I snagged half a fish for about $20. They also had farm-raised Atlantic salmon for half the price, but it's just not the same thing as wild Alaskan sockeye. Flabby and light pink to start with vs. firm and almost red . . . well, there's no comparison.

I sliced off the third of the fillet closest to what used to be the head of the fish, slathered it with some canola oil (we had a really hot charcoal fire on the BBQ, so I didn't want to use olive oil), and gave it the old salt and pepper treatment, before tossing it on the grill. It came out perfectly. Firm, dark, delicious flesh, that needed nothing other than a squeeze of lemon juice, was what I was shooting for, and achieved. The fish didn't stick to the grill, and we didn't even get any flare-ups.

My partner in eating crime likes salmon, but was really skeptical about throwing fish directly onto the grill rack. I was out to prove him wrong, and I did. Oil the fish, not the grill rack, and don't even think of poking the fish for the first three or four minutes. I'd recommend wrapping farm-raised salmon in foil before chucking it on the grill, but that's not necessary with wild sockeye.

We still have 2/3 of that side of fish left, so I think I'll just bake it, let it cool, then make salmon salad from it. I could also use it for salmon croquettes, but that seems like a waste to me.

For those of you in the U.S., happy Independence Day! Fire up your grills, folks, and celebrate.

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