Saturday, April 24, 2010
Springer salmon runs locally beginning around mid March. Springer is a term used for first of the season fish that were actually hatchery started then released into the wild. after a long winter of having frozen salmon i am always so excited to see them. they are all of the Chinook (king) variety and are considered one of the tastiest of all salmon species. salmon have a few really unique facts that i thought i would share. first these were hatched in a fishery but most salmon are born up river, i have read accounts (before dams) of them as far inland as Montana. as hatchlings they return to ocean and run wild off the coasts for usually 2 years at which point they return to the place they were born. what makes that journey more impressive is that once they leave the comfort of the ocean they stop eating, and some even change shape in the nose and mouth for better aerodynamics. this journey can take as long as a few months. they then spawn and die. a magnificent story, often containing many obstacles. i also read an old coastal Indian account saying that when the season was perfect you could walk on the backs of spawning salmon from astoria oregon to the washington side (about 4 miles). normal salmon season opens on may 1st at which point we will start shopping for different types of salmon from different places up the west coast. we will buy copper river (Alaska) salmon when it is in full run, and some salmon from other Alaska inlets. for the most part this local king run will be over soon, and we will move on. i have a local fisherman who we be off the coast of souther Washington picking them up for me, then selling them to me on the back dock of the restaurant. the choices are amazing especially once the season really gets going (mid-late june) farmed salmon isnt an option and it shouldnt be for you. farmed salmon is an Atlantic species, usually pen-farmed offshore. there is all sorts of speculation about what happens when a farmed and genetically altered fish escapes and breeds with a wild fish, they dont swim for life, they dont return to their birthplace to breed, the just sit in a offshore pen and are fed dog food. real, wild salmon has a depth of flavor that you cant match and color that is so superior. if your in the market to buy, go local if you can, and if you cant go local at least go Alaskan. it will be a bit more expensive but you can sleep at night knowing that in purchasing it you have sustained a community, and have helped guarantee that your grandchildren will one day be able to feast on it, instead of hearing about how far they used to swim to spawn, or how many there once was. the wild population was over fished at one point but with support we are doing so much better, they are as sustainable now as they have ever been. i am fortunate to be able to work with such an amazing product. a product many desire that was line caught mearly 20 miles from my home. if you are interested in purchasing salmon ask your local fish monger these key questions- is it wild? where was it caught? when was it caught? how was it caught?. this was a line caught local springer salmon and i encrusted it in toasted pumpkin seeds, then seared it to a perfect medium rare, then topped with a classic salsa verde. it was served with a Himalayan red rice, local asparagus, carrot julienne, and ciopolini onions. at home its perfect with a bit of salt and heat and maybe some lemon.