Saturday, June 16, 2012

Salmon. It smells like summer

Hubby went to the copper river to dipnet and brought home 25 beautiful red salmon. For those of you not from Alaska, the copper river is about a 5 hour drive from Anchorage and a world class salmon river. As Alaskan residents we can dipnet (use a net) to catch fish. This is our bounty for the year. We fish and that is the only meat we eat. We catch salmon all summer and dipnet once. Dipnetting to me is like grocery shopping. Usually we fish in the ocean or rivers for fun but Dipnetting is all about stocking up on fish.

The copper river has the first salmon runs and is famous for reds. The taste is amazing. Getting there is a challenge. After driving 5 hours the boys then paid a guide to take them on a jet boat to a rocky cliff. They climbed up on the cliff about 6 feet above the raging river and tied off using rope. This was a safety necessity since if you fell in the river it would be a deathly experience. Then they spent the next 10 hours netting salmon using huge nets.

We also have the Kenai river not too far away that you can dipnet in but he coppers seem to taste better. Yea we are salmon snobs. Back in tennessee my bro offered me some weird looking slightly pink frozen salmon that was farm raised and I tried my best not to be picky, but it is a pale imitation of the real thing.

After hubby got home from his exhausting trip he then cleaned and filleted the salmon. Some we vacuum sealed for grilled salmon, some we brined and smoked for smoked salmon and some we will can for winter use in chilis and other dishes. It is a lot of work but one weekend will have us stocked for the year. Wow it is a blessing to live in Alaska.

We will also catch halibut, cod and rockfish to eat this summer. We sometime clam which is a lot of fun but a lot of work too. We grow rhubarb, strawberries and butt loads of raspberries that we make and can jam with. We will pick blueberries and spend time shrimping and crabbing as well. The bounty of Alaska blows me away and we definitely have a connection to our food. Summer is about having a fabulous time in the great outdoors but much of that time we are stocking up on food. The winters are long and this is what Alaskans do. It makes us sound all hippie but honestly the majority of people here do the same thing along with bigger gardens and hunting.

To notch up the crunchy factor this yet we will have our own eggs from the chickens too. Feels good to be able to eat local without paying an arm ad a leg at whole foods to do so!

I'll post my process and recipes for smoked salmon soon. Also made lox this year so I'll tell all about that new experiment.



My smoked salmon process

Have hubby gather 25 fish
Have hubby clean, gut and filet fish
Make a brine in a food safe container...we used the cooler
Brine consist of Soy sauce, kosher salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar.....eye balled. Enough salt to float an egg.
Brine overnight-12 hours or more
Rinse and dry on racks with fan for 8-12 hours
Smoke in smoker for 6 hours
vacum seal and sigh in satisfaction that you have months of yummy smoked salmon to eat.

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