Monday, May 20, 2013

Yes, Virginia, Copper River Salmon is All That

Alright, the marketing plan can take some credit. But the Copper River Salmon*, which makes its debut this time of year is fantastic. We had it tonight (from Whole Foods for $24.99/lb) along with roasted cauliflower, early season corn on the cob, Baby Romaine dressed with Champagne vinaigrette and  Tortone, a new loaf from Little Goat that was said to contain garlic and mashed potatoes, tho the garlic was MIA. The crust was crunchier and the crumb was gummier than I expected. It didn't disappoint, per se, but it didn't appoint either. It was, essentially, a forgettable loaf.

If an elephant eats a Tortone in the woods and considers it the most forgettable loaf of bread he's ever eaten but then a tree falls on his head and he experiences post-traumatic amnesia, does it mean he forgot about the Tortone or that he was physically incapable of accessing its memory? Or did the Tortone even exist in the first place?

But back to the salmon. I grilled it**, with just a pinch of my beloved Mendocino Seasoning Sand. I'm not too hawkish around the grill. Dinnertime demands multitasking (which I now understand to mean doing lots of things, poorly), and tonight was no exception. While the salmon grilled I was prepping some pastries for an event tomorrow, giving a lecture on the lesson behind a homework assignment, and brokering a laptop-sharing agreement between two hostile parties. The muffins came out well, nothing else. Anyway, you do want to be hawkish at the grill when Copper River is cooking because 1) it's bloody expensive and you don't want to ruin it, and 2) what makes Copper River Salmon so darned tasty is the fat. Omega 3s will light up your grill and torch your fish. My grill was alight when I checked on it, but the fish was fine. I flipped it and moved it to a cooler part of the grill and left the hood up so I could keep an eye on things.

* If you don't know what Copper River Salmon is, the short story is that it's wild salmon from a super cold river in Alaska. Is it better then other wild salmon from cold rivers in Alaska? I couldn't say.  Want a longer story? Check out:
The Copper River salmon craze: How the race began - The LA Times Fresh Copper River salmon lands in Seattle - King5.com

** Grilling method for salmon: I always grill salmon with the skin on a preheated grill for ten minutes, then grilled skin side up for about 5-6 minutes with grill lid down, then skin down for about 2-3 minutes (in this case with grill lid up, though usually I close it). I like the flesh to have an hombre interior - a little darker in the center. If you must, flake off a corner to observe the interior to determine doneness. Build your poke-test skills by gently pressing on the cooked surface. Proteins will firm up as they cook - the firmer they are the more well-done. Serve on a platter, family style.

Happy Copper River Salmon Season!

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