Each time I open the freezer to grab something yummy the halibut cheeks mock me. I wasn’t eating them…yet. Last night we finally pulled one of our favorite parts of the fish out for dinner and it was super yummy. And like lots of great food, the simpler the prep, the better the end result.
- Pat cheeks dry with a paper towel and set aside
- Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat until a generous dollop of butter and some bacon grease (we save it in a can in the freezer just for special occasions like this) melt
- Sprinkle cheeks with salt, pepper, garlic salt, cayenne, onion powder, etc and add to pan
- Flip the bits after 2 minutes and lightly season the remaining side
- Your fish bits should be finished in another few minutes (2-3) and viola! Time to eat.
You can use small chunks of any fish with the same result and it’s amazing. Simple yet delicious.
One of the many cool things about living in Alaska is the seasonal salmon runs. It’s a haven for fishermen of all kinds. While some fish with poles, we subscribe to the resident only method of dip-netting. A large 5 foot round net is attached to a 12+ foot pole and set at the mouth of the river to scoop up delicious, vibrant salmon as they run to their spawning ground. Picture hundreds of people, shoulder to shoulder, rocking the latest fashions in Fishing Chic, pulling fish out the water as fast as they run. Well, the speed thing depends on what’s running, and this year they were slow. We fell short of our target but had a good time regardless and scooped up our first flounder, which I have lovingly named Pete.
All the filets have been processed and the bellies and spare bits have been marinated and ‘smoked‘ and let me tell you…this stuff is good. Like, can’t stop eating it good. Fatty, salty, sweet. Yum.
We may try our luck again this weekend, or we may call it good. Either way, life is pretty excellent and even tastier when you work for it yourself.
We have a bit of an aversion to fire around here, so setting a smoker on the deck to take care of our needs wouldn’t go over very well. But it’s all good as I actually prefer to use our dehydrator when it comes to ‘smoking’ fish. We did a batch of bits after our huge haul earlier this summer (bellies and parts that don’t work on a full filet) and have already munched our way through. However, considering we still have a good 100+ pounds of salmon in the freezer I pulled a few filets out today to brine and ‘smoke.’
- Rinse your filets and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips as long as you would like (after pulling the bones of course). I leave the skin on to process and we just pull the meat off as we eat.
- Mix 1 1/2 cups soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice together and pour over your 1 – 2 pounds of cut pieces.
- Allow to marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours shaking occasionally.
- Pat each piece dry on a paper towel and arrange on your dehydrator rack, making sure the pieces don’t touch.
- Set at 145* for 5-8 hours, depending on the desired doneness (we like ours still a little fresh ie: not full jerky.
This makes great snacking food and tastes just like some of the best smoked I’ve had without the fake added liquid smoke some recipes call for (which I always burp up – gross). What you can’t eat now stick in the freezer. It comes back to life amazingly fast after being frozen!
Wow. All I have been posting about is food lately. Which means of course that I’m so busy filling jewelry and knit cowl orders that I don’t have much time to do other crafty projects….A good problem to have? Perhaps.
Anyhoo. Tonight was another salmon experiment: Panko Salmon. Super easy: flour filets, dredge in egg and then cover in panko mixed with your choice of spices and throw in a non stick pan with some olive oil for 4 or so minutes a side. Done.
My point? The sauce that the husband has been making to go on top of the latest fish concoctions, a variation of his famous stroganoff sauce, is amazing.
- 2 TB butter melted in a pan
- Add approx 2 TB chopped/minced onion and saute with a TB or so of garlic
- After your onion starts to ‘clear’ add 2 TB of flour to make your rue
- Add 1 cup warm water with bullion or stock as you see fit
- Boil while whisking 2-3 minutes and remove from heat to cool down
- Add 2 -3 TB of sour cream, warm – add salt and pepper to taste
This is the base of awesome. Seriously. And to switch it up we’ve been adding things like jalapenos and cilantro to step 2. Great flavor you would think was from a restaurant. Go ahead. Try it. Top your favorite ______ with this sauce and a few chopped green onions and thank me later.
(post is lacking photos due to immediate inhalation of food)
We had our first dip-netting adventure 2 weeks ago and harvested 32 red salmon (our limit was 35 – but we were tired). It was a crazy and fun experience which left us both very sore and our freezer full of fresh fish. In addition to steaks and fillets, the little leftover parts of the fish (think less waste!) were brined and thrown in the dehydrator to make a pseudo smoked salmon or jerky. So good…Yum. Great on it’s own to snack on or to mix with a little cream cheese for a to-die-for salmon spread….
But last night we finally put the last lid on the ’12 salmon processing season by pickling the last remaining fillets. First they were packed in salt for a week (to kill all the freeloading bad guys), then cut into strips and stuffed lovingly into jars with an assortment of veggies to keep the fish company (asparagus, kohlrabi, radishes, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, onions, garlic, jalapenos and a slice of lemon). They are now sitting in the fridge getting their pickle on….we can’t wait to give them a try in a month or so when they are done doing their thing. Something about processing your own food just makes it taste so much better!