Grilled Salmon with Beurre Blanc and Sustainable Oceans Day

It’s June already…How did this happen? Yikes. One plus side to the whole “we’re half way through the year” thing is that the salmon runs have begun and if you haven’t picked some fresh salmon up from your market yet, you are without a doubt missing out. Sorry, the rhyme slipped in there on accident.

Fresh salmon, or fish of any kind is a wonderful thing to behold. When talking about things of importance like eating whole food, or organically, I feel like I haven’t been given the authority to talk about anything other than a recipe I have created. But please indulge me for a moment or two before I get to the recipe.

Normally I don’t discuss my eating habits in terms of movements I am supportive of – whether it be organic, free range, vegetarian, anything other than whole foods. Truth be told most days, as a girl on a budget, I pay attention to labels of organic ecetera when I can, but often pass them by when I am in a rush or would rather save those pennies and cents for a new food prop or bag of Dove chocolates for my daily lunch treat. But clarifying the stances of each of these movements is something everyone should know so that they can make the best choices for themselves and for their families. A blog I love, Perry’s Plate, has been discussing the importance of staying Whole in a Processed World and it is a very worthy read. I am a firm believer in everything she has touted and I commend her for vocalizing and clarifying all of the questions many of us wonder but dread to ask.

I am 110% behind the fair and equal treatment of animals, whether of the pet variety or the food variety. Happier cows make happier beef and chickens that lay eggs in organic free range conditions yield better eggs. And I know that better fish come from wild-caught conditions – NOT raised on a “farm”.

Feeding a family on a budget is taxing. There is no doubt that food is expensive and takes up a chunk of any families means, so buying organic, free range, or wild-caught can be considered a luxury at times. It may seem like only a dollar or two more, but when added up, it can amount to a great deal for those who are pinching their pennies where ever they can. And in an economy that is just now starting to recover, we’re all doing that where we can.

However, in my pinching of pennies there has been one product that I have not been able to buy that has been raised in a manufactured fashion and that is my fish. In the past I’ve told you about the Seattlite in me who is border line snobbish at the idea farm raised fish, or as I dub them “poop fish”. Living in the great Pacific Northwest we are all to aware of our where our seafood comes from, how it was raised or caught and what types of fish we are willing to consume. Salmon, being the key to our fish diet, is one that many turn their noses up to when it has not been wild caught.

Have you ever compared a piece of beef that was raised on grass as opposed to the mass produced grain? The difference in taste, consistency and texture is astronomical. The same thing can be said for wild-caught versus farmed salmon. Farm raised salmon are not only raise in indecent conditions, left in nets over areas of water that their waste has summarily destroyed leaving them to swim in their own shit. The descication and havoc that the pens wreck not only on the fish, but the ground below and the surrounding sea life is astonishing. Do you want to eat a fish like this? NO! With standard practices that house fish in these conditions, feeding them protein packed food to plump  them up and dye them the correct and marketable color – I say for shame!!

Say “no” to Poor Fish! Who’s with me!?

But now that we have discussed the atrocities of farmed fish, I want to talk Wild-Caught. As you know I have partnered this year with Copper River Salmon to create delicious meals using a fish that can only be described as divinity on a cedar plank. Copper River Salmon and other responsible fishing organizations pride themselves on salmon sustainability, responsible fishing practices and a product that can’t be compared to anything else on the market. When you have happier fish you have a tastier experience.

Sustainable practices are vital to not only maintaining our natural resources, but ensuring that they thrive as well.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the arrival of the first shipment of Copper River Salmon to Seattle. We are proud of this tradition and I still maintain this is the only city you will ever go to where fish get the red carpet treatment. As part of this proud tradition, the first fish off the plane gets filleted up and cooked up by three of our city’s best chefs in an annual cookoff. This year’s winner was the thrice time winner (in a row) Pat Donahue of Anthony’s Restaurants. To say that it was a work of art would be an understatment. I wanted it in my face.

To make this at home seemed like a feat, but after a few small changes to the chef’s original recipe it was easy to duplicate at home. And a crowd please it was! There is no reason to not add a little flair to your table every once in a while. So please, take some time to buy yourself some wild-caught fish, fix up a dish with flair and be mindful of sustainable and responsible aquaculture.

Happy Sustainable Oceans Day, one and all!

Yield: 4

Wild Copper River Salmon with Beurre Blanc and Blackberry Chipotle Sauce

Wild caught salmon with beurre blanc sauce laced with blackberry chipotle sauce

Ingredients:

Salmon:
1 pound Copper River Salmon, in 4- 4oz Steaks

Salmon Seasoning:
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1/2 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Buerre Blanc Sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp Shallots, minced
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/3 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Butter
Pinch of Salt

1/4 cup Blackberry Chipotle Marinade or other berry based sauce or jam.

2 cups CousCous prepared

Directions:

Soak Alder or Cedar plank in water for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Heat grill to medium hot.
In small bowl, mix together the salmon seasonings until incorporated - sugar, pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, mustard, cinnamon. Sprinkle over evenly over each salmon fillet.
Place salmon steaks on wood plank, skin side down, and cook until medium or about 140 degrees. Remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil.

Beurre Blanc:
In small sauce pan, heat over medium high heat, sautee shallots in lemon juice. Add in white wine, heavy cream, butter and salt. Bring to simmer and reduce until thickened - stirring often.

Cous Cous:
Prepare cous cous according to package directions.

To plate:
Pour equal parts buerre blanc sauce over 4 plates. Drizzle blackberry marinade/sauce or jam lightly over the beurre blanc sauce. Plate 1/2 cup of prepared cous cous in the middle of the plate. Place one fillet per plate over the top of the cous cous. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Pat Donahue's Wild Copper River King Alder Planked Salmon with Rhubarb Cherry Coulis