It may seem strange that an Alaskan-based food writer would go almost an entire year into her blog and not post a salmon recipe. Although I eat salmon all the time, in many different forms, I guess it just didn’t occur to me to post something about it. But the other day, I realized that most people don’t have the privilege to have grown up eating so much salmon, and may feel intimidated by cooking it without a recipe to follow. If you are one of those people, then today is your lucky day.
For me, salmon isn’t just a recipe, it’s also a part of the world that’s woven into my cultural identity. My family is Alaska Native, and I am part of the first generation to be raised outside of our village. My father, who is Unangax (oo-NAHNG-ahk) worked in the Seldovia cannery as a teenager. He also spent some time commercial fishing. My family would not be what it is without salmon and the salmon industry. It’s hard to boil all of that down into an instructional how-to, but I will give it my best shot.
For this recipe, I definitely recommend doing your research and ensuring that you buy wild salmon. Some brands have been known to claim farmed salmon as wild, so my advice is to get it directly from a fresh fish market. This isn’t just for ethical reasons, it’s also for the taste. I have eaten farmed salmon several times before and it has never once come close to measuring up to the taste of wild salmon.
Also as a note, I go a little easier on the glaze because my preference is the taste of the salmon itself, with a hint of the glaze in each bite. However, if you know you want the glaze to be a little more prominent, then simply double the recipe for it below and slather in on as heavy as you want. This is your salmon, and no one can tell you how to eat it.
Here is my recipe for salmon fillet baked in foil, only a lifetime in the making.
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tablespoon Honey
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Pound Salmon Fillet
Salt, To Taste
Pepper, To Taste
Preheat oven to 425.
In a small bowl, mix mustard, honey, and olive oil. Salt and pepper your fillet very liberally, then use a brush to glaze it over the top of the fillet until well-coated. Wrap in foil and cook for 22-25 minutes (if cooking over campfire, check until the center has a somewhat flaky texture and there is no discoloration). Let cool five minutes and serve hot.
I didn’t just want salmon for dinner, but I didn’t feel like going to the trouble to cook rice. So, I placed my fillet on top of a spinach salad with Italian dressing. It was delicious and caused me to feel full and satisfied without being stuffed. One thing I love about salmon is that it’s so filling. It’s almost impossible to overeat (not that I don’t try).
Do you have any traditional foods that you take for granted sometimes? For me, it’s not until I go to a restaurant and see the cost of fish that I realize how valuable it is. I’m so used to getting it for free through family or by fishing. When I send it to friends in the lower 48 states, I am suddenly very popular.
I hope everyone is cherishing the foods that they’re eating right now. Food is a comfort and a way to connect with our family and our friends. But it’s something we have a tendency to punish ourselves with, either by overeating or not eating what our bodies crave. Let’s all work together this year to find a balance between the two extremes.
Until next time, eat and cook foods that make your stomach smile.