Saturday, June 9, 2012

ChezCindy: Copper River Salmon

Mid-to-late May brings the season of Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon, anticipated by salmon lovers through-out the country.  Copper River salmon are wild and sustainable.  The high oil content, brilliant color, and firm texture make Copper River salmon perfect for preparations that allow it's magnificent flavor to shine, and not to forget, is also rich in healthy Omega 3s.  The season runs through Mid-May to late July, with King salmon being the crown jewel of the river, followed by Sockeye, then Coho.  All are delicious and worthy.

Because this Copper River salmon is so special, I encourage the most simple preparation so that it's flavor can really stand out.  Below is a method I use as a launch for many of my salmon recipes that is super easy.  From here, you can add sauce, place the salmon in a sandwich or add to pasta salad.  Here's I how I do it. 

Pan-Seared Salmon
1-pound fresh Salmon - skin on, cut into 4-ounce portion size
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

Pat the salmon dry with paper towels; cut into 4 equal size pieces.  Place a large non-stick pan over medium- high heat.  Pre-heat the pan for a few minutes; add 1 tablespoon of oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the cut salmon; sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the salmon.  Carefully, place each piece flesh side down into the hot pan.  Don't move or flip the salmon for at about 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness.  You will see the salmon changing color from the pan side moving up.  When nicely seared, a spatula should easily slip under the salmon so that it can now be flipped onto the skin side.  Cook skin side for about 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Flip the salmon over to skin side up.  Using tongs, remove the skin by pulling back at one corner, and pulling across the full piece of salmon.  It should remove easily.  Discard the skin.  Flip the salmon over so that the flesh side is now up.  Allow to rest in the pan for 2 minutes.  Remove from the pan onto your serving platter. 

Salmon pairs well with Pinot Noir wine.  My preference is a light-bodied French Burgundy. 

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