How to cook a Salmon
Salmon is in season. I love it when our local grocer has fresh wild salmon in the seafood cooler. Having grown up in Vancouver, fresh wild salmon is a summer tradition in our home. While I prefer sockeye for its deep red, moist flesh, the sockeye run has good years and bad years. This is one of those bad years for sockeye. But the pinks are abundant.
There are five kinds of wild salmon on the West coast of British Columbia. In order of fat content: Sockeye, Chinook or Spring Salmon, Coho, Chum, and Pink. The pink salmon is abundant, even in years when the other salmon are scarce. Pink Salmon is an economical choice. This week fresh whole, pink salmon was 39 cents per 100 grams or around $1.75 a pound, at my local grocery store.
Pink salmon is lower in fat than the other salmon species. It’s easy to over cook it. To avoid ending up with dry leathery fish, cook pink salmon in a little bit of water. I put the fish on a baking sheet and pour 2 cups of water over the tray. For a three pound whole pink salmon bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. When the fish is done, the water on the tray will be turned to steam. The fish will be moist and flaky.
How to Filet a Whole Salmon
To filet the cooked fish, using a sharp filet knife, cut along the lateral line, through the skin and flesh, from the neck to the tail, just through the top side of the fish. Lift the flesh and move it toward the back bone. It should come off in one piece, with the skin attached. The lower part will also be removed from the bones in one piece. Half the fish is fileted. If you take the tail now and pull it up toward the head, the bones will be removed in one piece, and the fish will be fileted. A 3 pound salmon will serve 8 people. You can make chowder from the bones.
Pink salmon is perfect served with this fresh peach salsa. The juicy fruit and sour-sweet-salty-spicy taste is a perfect complement to the poached fish. Pink salmon has a milder flavour than sockeye or coho salmon, and wears fresh fruit sauces well.
How lucky that in BC local peaches and BC wild salmon are in season at the same time!
Fresh Peach Salsa with Lemon Balm and Fermented Limes
Yield: 2 cups (8 — 2 ounce servings)
2 ripe peaches
1 medium jalapeno pepper
1/2 sweet onion, diced finely
2 — 8 inch stalks of fresh lemon balm
1 salt fermented lime plus 1 tbsp. brine from fermented limes
½ tsp. rosemary and lavender herbed sea salt
Blanch peaches in boiling water just long enough to loosen the skins. Plunge in cold water. Slip the skins. Slice the peaches against the pit. Discard the pit. Cube the peach slices and place in a bowl.
Wash the lemon balm stalks in cold water and shake excess water from the stalks. Remove the leaves from the stalks. Discard stems. Roll the lemon balm leaves into a tight roll and chop very finely with a sharp chef’s knife. Add the lemon balm to the bowl of peaches.
Wearing gloves, slice the jalapeno pepper in half. Remove the seeds and the membrane. Cut off the stem end. Cut the pepper into thin strips. Slice the strips to finely chop the pepper. Add to the bowl of peaches. Stir the peaches to combine. Remove the gloves.
Peel and finely chop one half of a sweet onion. Place the remainder of the onion in a jar in the fridge. Add the diced onion to the bowl and mix in.
Take one fermented lime from the jar. Separate the lime sections and squeeze each section over the peaches in the bowl to squeeze out as much juice as possible. Chop the lime sections, including the lime rind into fine cubes. Add to the peaches in the bowl, along with some brine from the jar of fermented limes. Stir to combine with the peaches.
Add the herbed sea salt to the bowl. If you don’t have herbed sea salt, you can add regular sea salt. Stir well. Cover and set aside for one hour to allow the flavours to meld.
Serve with mild tasting pink salmon. The sweet, salty, sour flavour melds perfectly with salmon, poultry, and lamb.
Try this instead of corn relish on your burger.
Where to Get Salt Fermented Limes
Salt fermented citrus is so versatile, and super easy to make at home. You must make some next time the citrus fruit is reasonably priced at the market. You’ll be so glad to have this powerhouse of flavour handy in the fridge for recipe just like this. For the recipe for salt fermented limes see my article on the Fermentools blog here.
Or check out my recipe for salt preserved lemons here.
How Long Will It Keep?
This fresh peach salsa has the probiotic advantage of the salted limes. It should keep in the fridge for 2 weeks without spoilage, if stored in a sanitized jar. For longer keeping, I recommend freezing to maintain the flavour of the fresh peaches.