Tips to take the challenge out of Salmon 

I lived in Alaska on and off for years and one of the best ingredients there was the incredible salmon and crab. Almost everyday, all summer long I would come into work and fillet at least 2 big king or sockeye salmon. Fish can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. 
Salmon is great, it has it’s own distinct flavor, yet it’s light and takes on other flavors well too. Stay away from pink or chum salmon. I used chum salmon for bait and pink salmon for smoking. They don’t have the most pleasant and clean flavor you want out of a salmon. King salmon, or Chinook depending on what you call them where you live, are nice and large. King salmon to me has a little bit of a generic flavor compared to sockeye. Chinook is so popular, because of their large size. Sockeye is flavorsome and contains the least amount of mercury. The fillets that come off of a sockeye salmon have a very bright and distinct color.  Coho salmon is also pretty nice. It’s similar to the taste of a king salmon, just a bit smaller. 
I always prefer fillets over steaks. I think steaks don’t look as nice and they’re more of a pain to eat. Usually in super markets salmon comes fillet and with the pin bones already removed. Also I find salmon cooks more evenly cut into fillet portions rather than steaks. 
Look at the label in the case. Wild caught is always better. Farmed fish isn’t good. They feed it corn pellets and something to make the flesh look kind of how it’s supposed to. The flesh should look bright, not washed out or faded. Look for salmon that hasn’t been frozen. Previously frozen salmon will almost always end up being dry and it makes it harder to cook, because it’ll be falling apart more. This will also drain it of a lot of its flavor. 
Try cooking it skin on. A nice crispy skin can be nice on A salmon. I prefer it myself. If you don’t like the skin and don’t want to ruin your fillet by trying to skin it, cook it skin on and it’ll just come right off with your fingers. 
When it comes to cooking your salmon I prefer to pan sear, bake or eat it raw. Salmon is nice on sushi and in poke if it’s fresh and fatty. When I sear mine I just heat a pan up with some oil in it and put it skin side down in the pan. Let it cook about 70 percent the way on the skin and flip it. It will finish soon after. You can see it when you cook your salmon in a pan how cooked it is by looking at the side. Salmon is nice medium rare. When you bake it just season it and put it skin side down in a oven around 350 degrees until it’s done. It really is that simple. 

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Sushi

Sushi has become increasingly popular here in America over the past years. It’s far more popular on the coasts where it’s more readily available. Living in Alaska the past few years I’ve had the luck to try some truly great sushi.

Sushi referes to cold vinegar rice accompanied with vegetables, fish, ect. The most important component of sushi is the rice. Most people wouldn’t think that’s the case, but it is. Chefs who specialize in sushi spend years and years perfecting the seasoning for the rice. When getting hired on at Michelin sushi restaurants in japan the employees spend 3 years washing rice so they perfect it.  The rice is washed many times before being cooked to make it sticky. Rice for sushi should not be packed tightly. It should be just right enough to pick up and eat. Sashimi is a good example. Sashimi is a football shaped ball of rice topped with thin sliced fish. The rice is almost always packed too tight.

A lot of people think sushi must have raw fish, but this is not the case. A good portion of sushi doesn’t include fish or the fish is cooked. I find that people who don’t like sushi think it’s mostly raw fish. Product with sushi must be of great quality. If it’s to be eaten raw especially the fish/vegetables must be fresh and look good.

When going out to eat sushi in japan for the most part you can count on not seeing soy sauce or wasabi. If it is there it’s most likely for tourists. The sushi chef in Japan takes such pride in his work that he knows the piece of sushi he’s giving you tastes perfect as is. A lot of sushi chefs in Japan would take it as almost an insult to tamper with the sushi by adding soy sauce or wasabi.

Fish

I’m from a small town in South East Alaska. The towns been nick named the salmon capitol of the world, due to the immense salmon runs our rivers carry. Standing on the memorial bridge, looking down when the salmon  are running, you can see hundreds of salmon swimming at a time. Beautiful sockeye salmon swimming in a pack with massive king salmon.

There are four classifications of fish. Round and Flat is like salmon and halibut. Than fatty and lean. Fatty fish would be like cod and lean would be like sea bass. salmon

Fishing is fun and in an hour you could easily pull in four decent sized salmon. I remember the days of catching a few very nice salmon, prepping them in a nice marinade, wrapping them in tin foil and throwing them on the grill to cook. The flavor is rich and flakes apart. Salmon can be cooked in so many ways, but I like to keep it simple a lot of the time. The natural flavor of the wild caught salmon is rich and all it takes is a little salt to bring the flavors out.

There are many kinds of fish we use here in America. Salmon and halibut are the two most popular in restaurants. Halibut has a great flavor. Its white and fleshy. The texture is more firm than a lot of fish. The flavor itself is subtle, but good. It tastes of a quality fish.

Tuna is also very popular. Seared ahi tuna is one of my favorites. Its a firm and lean fish. The center should be red in the middle. Trout is popular in America. It can be caught almost anywhere and has a delicate flavor. Sea bass is seriously a fantastic fish to try. The flavor is difficult to describe, but wow its good.

I always recommend wild caught fish to farmed. You can taste the difference and the texture is significantly different. For salmon king is generally sought after the most, but sockeye has a richer flavor and a lower mercury content. I recommend trying a variety of fish.

Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is often either thought of as boring and monotone or highly competitive with just minor differences from one place to another. The trick with a good clam chowder is just focusing on flavors and how to balance them.

The flavors usually found in a good clam chowder are smokey from the bacon or salt pork. The smokey flavor really enriches the chowder and elevates it to the next level. I suggest using salt pork or a thick cut bacon. Bacon with a good amount of fat on it, but not too much, Bacon that is too fatty will give an unpleasant mouth feel to your chowder.

The second common error people make in clam is overcooking to potatoes to the point where they fall apart. The key to a successful potato component is cooked through, but not mush. What I use to obtain this is Yukon Gold Potatoes. They hold together well when cooking and can be cooked longer without disintegrating.

The component that is often not the main highlight of the chowder is the clams themselves. A lot of places, even on the Oregon coast, don’t use fresh clams. Canned clams go to rubber so much faster than fresh clams. Oregon has some great clams that are available almost all the time. Use fresh clams it helps add additional flavor and helps with texture problems.

The combination of winning textures and well balanced flavors makes for a good clam chowder. Its not that complicated to make a winning clam chowder. Clam chowder

Wild caught vs Farmed fish

This is a subject that I feel very strongly about. I, being from Alaska, know what quality wild caught salmon has to offer. The flavor and texture sings on the pallet. Farmed salmon is becoming a bigger and bigger market each year due to weaker wild runs. Over fishing and pollution is rapidly declining salmon runs. Higher regulations are being placed to protect salmon runs with mild success.

There are actually a lot different health quality’s between farmed and wild caught salmon. Wild caught salmon is leaner than farmed salmon by 32%. Farmed salmon swim far less than wild salmon so contain more fat. The extra fat makes the farmed salmon significantly higher in calories. Also wild caught salmon are higher in nutrients such as calcium, iron and potassium.

Most salmon farmers will tell you that farmed salmon are almost the same nutritionally as wild caught. The site i got most of my information from would disagree.

http://www.prevention.com/which-healthier-wild-salmon-vs-farmed-salmon

I think for the time being farmed fish are important. Restoring the salmon runs needs to be a priority. I personally would not eat a farmed salmon fillet, but I have smoked farmed salmon and it does come out good. If you want a really good plank or grilled salmon its wild caught all the way. salmonSockeyeRawSmall