Off the hook, onto the plate

Juneau's finest fishermen and chefs bare their salmon secrets

Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2007

Trying to find a new way to serve your fresh-caught white king?

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Searching for new ideas on what to do with all those coho fillets you've stashed in the freezer?

In the interest of creativity, the Empire rounded up a few recipes from Juneau's top fishermen and chefs.

Many of them, such as fisherman and former educator Robert Weiss, choose an old Alaskan method - barbecuing.

They drizzle the top with a sauce made from brown sugar, sliced ginger and crushed garlic.

Others simply head to the store and experiment with the vast selection of marinades.

Mick Beasley of Douglas recommends Yoshida Gourmet Sauce; he says it's a sure bet.

In any case, if fishing is an adventure, so is throwing the old recipes aside and trying new ways to prepare Alaska's most popular wild fish. Whether you prefer your salmon grilled, pan-seared, boiled, broiled, poached or smoked, here are a few new recipes to try:

Indian Boiled Fish

By Judson Brown, as told by his grandson, Tlingit artist Mick Beasley




Onion (optional)

Black seaweed

salt and pepper


• Cut salmon - with bones and head - into two-inch cubes. Put onion and equal parts meat and potatoes into large pot of water. Bring to boil. Stir frequently and gently without breaking the salmon. If stirred properly, the broth will be a milky color.

• When the potatoes are done, the salmon is done. Just before serving, add black seaweed.

• Serve with Sailor Boy Pilot Bread Crackers.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Watermelon and Black Olive Salad

By Stefani Marnon, executive chef at the Governor's Mansion



4 cups cubed seedless watermelon

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted

½ red onion, sliced thin

1 large bunch arugula, trimmed

Salmon cooking

A few tips from Stefani Marnon, executive chef at the Governor's Mansion:

• Don't over-season.

• Just practice.

• Make sure you get the fillet or steak you want, even if it means asking the meat purveyor to cut it.

• To de-bone salmon, use whatever is handy - including eyebrow tweezers or needlenose pliers.

• If the skin is removed, the fishy flavor will be reduced.

• Want more tips or recipe ideas? Just ask others at the grocery store buying fish - everyone has a different way of preparing salmon.

Web links

For more on cooking salmon, check out Alaska Seafood Marketing for its searchable database of salmon (and other seafood) recipes at


½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon fennel seed

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Salmon, 4 fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each

olive oil

salt and pepper


• To make the salad, toss the watermelon, black olives, red onion and arugula together in a bowl. Put it in the fridge to chill.

• Whisk together the oil, vinegar and spices. Season with salt and pepper.

• Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large saute pan on high heat with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. When oil is smoking, place salmon (seasoned with salt and pepper) flesh side down in the pan. Wait 1 to 2 minutes until salmon gets golden brown, flip to other side and finish cooking in the oven 3 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.

• Toss half the vinaigrette with the salad. Wait until right before serving to prevent the arugula from wilting. Serve the salmon on top.

Japanese-style Smoked and Poached Salmon

By Mark Vinsel, executive director of United Fishermen of Alaska



Miso soup


• Lightly smoke a fish. Then poach it in miso soup.

Goddess Fingers

By Jason Shull, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Fishery Biologist


8 oz. fresh king salmon per person (sliced into 1 inch-thick fingers)

olive oil

Annie's Goddess dressing

salt and pepper



• Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When the skillet is hot, drop in the salt and peppered salmon fingers and fry uncovered until the outside is done. Then add generous amounts of Annie's Goddess dressing and gently roll the fingers so all sides are cooked. A lid may be used to "finish" the inside of thicker fingers, but don't cover the dish very long or it will overcook.

• Serve the fingers with the leftover sauce from the skillet on a huge bed of rice.

• Brittany Retherford can be reached at Read her blog, the Muskegger, at the Muskegger for more recipe ideas and to share your own.

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