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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

August 29, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Chef Tom Douglas offers a must have salmon recipe


Kings and coho are migrating back to the coast, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, and salmon anglers are hooking into decent catches of late summer salmon.

That means anglers are looking for creative ways to dish up these delicious fish, and renowned Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas has some tips on how to prepare them.

Douglas is contributing some of his recipes for the Reel Time Fishing blog. Each will be related to the Catch of the Week, which will appear regularly Wednesdays through October, along with recipes from other local chefs, and owners of tackle shops and fish markets.

Douglas is owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery, Etta’s, Serious Pie Downtown, Seatown, Brave Horse Tavern, Cuoco, Serious Biscuit, Serious Pie Westlake and Ting Momo.

Sake Steamed Sockeye Salmon with Sake Butter

From Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen Cookbook

Serves 4

I like to use sockeye salmon for this dish — its firm flesh and rich flavors are perfect for steaming. You could, of course, use other types of salmon and this is a good technique for other firm-fleshed fish such as ling cod or halibut. Chinese bamboo steamers work well and they are not very expensive, though any steamer set up is fine.

1 stalk lemon grass, split lengthwise

2 cups water

2 cups sake

10 ginger coins, sliced 1/8″ thick

2 star anise

Peel of 1 orange

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions

Sake Butter (see recipe)

Lime wedges for garnish


Bruise the lemon grass with the back of your knife to help release the aromatics. Set up your steamer: we use a large saucepan or a wok with a Chinese bamboo steamer set over it. Place the lemon grass, water, sake, ginger, star anise, and orange peel in the bottom of your steamer (the saucepan or wok). Bring to a boil. Lay the salmon fillets in the steamer basket and cover with the steamer lid. Steam until the salmon is just done, about 5 minutes.

Place a salmon fillet on each plate. Spoon some of the sake butter over each portion of fish. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Sake Butter

From Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen Cookbook

Yields 2/3 cup sauce

A beurre blanc is a classic French butter sauce. It is delicate and will “break” or look curdled if you try to keep it over direct heat for too long. The best ways to keep a beurre blanc warm is to either place the container of sauce in a pan of hot water for a half-hour or so, or pour it directly into a small thermos and screw the cover on. The thermos method will keep your beurre blanc warm for an hour or more.

2 tablespoons peeled and very thinly julienne fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon quality sake (ie. Momokawa)

1 tablespoon heavy cream

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into large dice

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Kosher salt


In a small saucepan, on medium-high heat, sweat the ginger and shallots in 1 tablespoon of butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sake, bring to a boil and reduce by two thirds, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 2 minutes.

Add the pieces of cold butter to the sauce, bit by bit, while whisking constantly over medium-high heat. The butter will emulsify, creating a thick, creamy sauce. Once all the butter has incorporated, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the remaining teaspoon of sake and the lime juice. Season to taste with salt.

(Photo by Greg Gilbert, Seattle Times staff photographer)



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