Baked Alaska… No Baked Salmon

by ....RaeDi


Yesterday was the opening day of the Salmon season. T and all of his old gizzer friends joined together for their annual opening day of salmon fishing here at Point no Point.   Actually they are a pretty good lot; a complete mix of ‘stereo typed men,’ that can be basically pigeonholed in a category of ‘old men with nothing to do with their hands,’ once retirement sits in.  They are a lot of very hard workers with good character who have earned their retirement.  I love to tease T about his misfit group of ole gizzers.  T just laughs… this community is blessed to have each one of these ole grey-headed, receding (balding) hairline souls.  T actually retired early in life, he says to take care of me, so you know T is ‘several’ years older than me, and he thinks wiser, we know better… we will just let him think that.

Take a look at the teeth.  This twenty-one pound Salmon was delicious….

One of my children years ago thought that salmon was only an Alaskan fish, anytime we had salmon on the menu it was always called “Baked Alaska.”  I still think of that today whenever we have salmon.   I remember that I even made “Baked Alaska” one time to show this child what it truly was, he was impressed, but it did not stop him from calling our “Baked Salmon” “Baked Alaska.”   One of those heartfelt memories from times past that I will not let go of.

As I put the salmon in the oven this evening I was thinking of the “Baked Alaska” wishing a little that I could return for just a few hours to be with the children when they were small.  I too think of all the things I told them that they believed… me knowing that when they got older and ‘wiser’ with more experience with the world they would realize Mom pulled their legs on more than one occasion.  I wonder if this is one of them, I will have to ask said child if he still calls salmon “Baked Alaska.”

This piece of fish came off a twenty-one pound beauty.  The salmon are so beautiful on one hand, but if you take a good look at them they seem to be a little creepy too (jeezzz!) with the jaw line changing rapidly as it reaches its destination.  These fish have survived so many things on their journey in the few short years since their parents spawned in the creek beds here in our area.  They made their way down stream into the mouth or estuary of the Puget Sound (adapting to the salt water) then off to the great Pacific Ocean for the beginning of their ocean ionic travels before returning.

I have an enormous fascination of the migration of birds and fish.  The distance they travel and the amount of time it takes each on their journey is mind-blowing to say the least.   I too will be migrating from here to the south each fall and home again each spring, I know how it is done, I have been studying the migration patterns of all be it with wings, fins or even two-footers (cotton tops) that follow good weather.

I love the fragrance of salmon when it is almost done baking.  It draws you in; you can taste the flavor and see the beauty of the brilliant red meat.  The King Salmon is my favorite.   I like the Silver Salmon and as for the rest they do not agree with my pallet, for reasons unknown.  T brings home as many King Salmon as he is allowed by gaming laws followed by the Silver.  The season this year is from July to November (around six weeks for the king salmon.)  He will bring home a lot of the delicious red meat for canning, freezing, smoking and his favorite (not mine, again no taste for) pickled salmon.  Our pantry will have enough canned salmon to feed a family though to next season and add to that the freezer of salmon so full you cannot get another piece of fish in there no matter how hard you try.  I get to the point of saying, “No more salmon, we have enough fish for us and everyone we know!”  But I too know how blessed we truly are to have this healthy fish right at our backdoor.

I love my salmon baked with as little garnish as possible.  I line a baking dish with aluminum foil.  I like to have the salmon cut into serving size pieces and then coat each piece with olive oil.   (T is so good to me; he always debones all fish when cleaning.)  Place the fish into the lined baking dish.  I put some sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste on each piece of the salmon.  I sprinkle a little parsley on each  and  add just a pinch of powdered garlic to the mix  (you do not want to overpower the little fishes with the garlic, just a tiny note of garlic is all you want.)  I then slice a Georgia Vandalia Sweet Onion (while in season or Washington State Walla Walla Sweet Onion) into thin slices and put one slice on each piece of salmon.  Normally I will slice lemons and place them on the salmon too, but this time I only had one and  that was just enough for us to drizzle a little on top of our baked salmon.  I would have used lemon pepper but out of that too… I think I need a major trip to the market.

I fold over and crease and pleat together the sides of the foil to completely seal the aluminum foil so that none of the steam can escape.  I bake it at 385˚ degrees for around 30 (plus) minutes, it depends on how thick the slices of fish are, and ours were over an inch thick.  I remember being told when learning how to bake fish that when you checked to see if it was done, if a lot of steam comes out when you first open the foil the meat is done.  For me that has always been true.

I made a green salad as a side and had pomegranate balsamic, olive oil and I cubed some Havarti cheese with Dill that was a perfect mix with the salmon.  I made a huge dish of fresh fruit for after dinner.  It had big fresh Washington State Bing Cherries, sliced strawberries, red and white grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe.     It was as refreshing and delicious as it was beautiful.

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner and an added bonus it was very healthy….

I too got four salmon patties made from the left-overs.  This was just a ‘small’ portion of the fish in the picture.  I cannot even imagine right now how many meals and too how many it will feed over the entirety of this fish, lots.  We will have heated patties with soft-boiled eggs for breakfast.  Salmon-Eggs Benedict… good!   Then will probably freeze the other two to have as salmon sandwiches cold one day for lunch.  It is a wonder what all you can make with salmon…..