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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 18, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Chef Tom Douglas dishes up advice for a silvery salmon delight

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Right now the coho salmon runs are starting to arrive in the Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into Puget Sound as well as the ocean and Columbia River, and fishing has been very good at times. Many will be bringing home their catches and looking for creative ways to wow their friends and family at the next meal.

Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas will contribute some of his tasty cooking advice and recipes for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday through October. Catch of the Day will also include recipes from other local chefs, tackle shop owners and fish-market owners.

Douglas is owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery, Etta’s, Serious Pie Downtown, Seatown, Brave Horse Tavern, Cuoco, Serious Biscuit and Serious Pie Westlake. Another new Douglas restaurant that just opened is Tanaka San at the Via6 Apartment Complex in downtown Seattle.

Here are some suggestions by Chef Tom Douglas on how to serve coho salmon:

Coho or silver salmon are very common and easy to get for a good price. Cohos have medium fat content, in other words, less fat than king salmon. The coho’s flesh, which ranges in color from pink to dark red, is flakier than king’s.  Cohos run 5 to 10 pounds where they max out- you’ll rarely find them any bigger than that.

Fresh is best

At the fishmonger, choose fish with bright scales and clear eyes.  Coho are often gill netted, though I like it better when they’re not, because gill netting can cause blood spots (cut them out if you see any.)

Recently I picked up a 5 pound coho and decided to do a quick cure on it.  I left the skin on, but if you take the skin off, the curing time will be even quicker.  To make the cure, combine 1 part salt, 1 part brown sugar, and some coriander seeds and black peppercorns.

Place the fish on a rimmed baking sheet and pat the cure thickly all over the fillet.  Put another baking sheet on top and use something to weight it down, like a gallon jug of vegetable oil.  Refrigerate for an hour and a half, then remove the fish from the baking sheet, scrape off the cure, and rinse it lightly in cold running water.

Thinly slice the fish and drizzle with lemon infused olive oil.  If you don’t have lemon infused olive oil, grate some lemon zest right over the top and drizzle with a light olive oil. Don’t use an intensely flavored or pungent olive oil because you don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of fish.  Serve the cured, sliced coho salmon chilled with crackers, grilled bread or crostini and glasses of rosé.

Another way to go is to use the same curing mixture, put your coho in a smoker and cold smoke it.  Or you can hot smoke the coho, cooking it all the way through.

 

 

 

 

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