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Monday, June 22, 2009

grilled southwestern salmon with guacamole on crispy toast

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EAT WILD SALMON!

You probably already know that I sell my Rise & Shine Bakery bread at the South Anchorage Farmers’ Market during the summer. As the farmers’ market reporter, I also write the weekly email newsletter that gets posted on our website.

A couple of weeks ago two women from Trout Unlimited contacted me about holding an event to promote Bristol Bay salmon at our farmers’ market. The event, “Eat Wild!,” is to be held this Saturday, June 27, and is designed to build consumer demand for wild salmon. By building support for the fishery, they hope to help protect Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed from the threat of large-scale mining. Trout Unlimited, partnering with our Arctic Choice Seafoods, will be giving away free samples of grilled Bristol Bay sockeye salmon along with recipes and information about Bristol Bay and the risks this fishery faces.

They asked me if I wanted to submit a recipe for their event—and I just happened to have a great recipe ready! At the market last weekend I picked up a glorious sockeye salmon filet so I could make it again and take a photo for you. YUM! I’m definitely planning to pick up another salmon filet this Saturday! You can feed yourself like a King (pun intended) and get yourself on the moral high ground—just by buying wild Alaskan salmon!

The event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arctic Choice Seafood booth at the South Anchorage Farmers Market, at the Subway/Cellular One Sports Centre near the corner of Old Seward Highway and O’Malley Road. More information is available at www.whywild.org.

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grilled southwestern salmon with guacamole on crispy toast

This recipe is inspired by the wonderful fresh local salmon at the market!  You grill the salmon with a yummy southwestern rub, then toast a slice of hearty whole-grain bread until crisp. Spread the toast with a thick layer of guacamole, stack the salmon on top, and sprinkle with a little garnish of red onions. Serve with a simple green salad, topped with toasted green pumpkin seeds. And wouldn’t a margarita taste good with this meal? Especially if we have a sunny day and you can eat it outside on the deck!

Even if you have your own guacamole recipe already, you might want to give this one a try—it’s modified from a recipe from a Cook’s Illustrated magazine from several years ago, and I really do think it’s a good one.

For the southwestern spice rub, I really like the choices at Summit Spice & Tea Co. (at 1120 E. Huffman Road). I’d recommend their southwestern blend, or the Slammin’ Salmon, or the Coho Mojo. You could also just use prepared chili powder if you don’t have any of these blends handy.

1 large filet salmon
southwestern spice rub
canola oil (for the grill)
1 small red onion, minced
guacamole (recipe follows)
4 slices hearty whole-grain bread

1. Make the guacamole, cover it with plastic wrap (pressed directly onto the surface to keep it from browning) and refrigerate.
2. Skin the salmon filet and sprinkle it all over with the spice rub, rubbing it on to cover all surfaces. 
3. Heat your grill on high heat, and when the grill racks are very hot, scrub them clean with your grill brush. Just before you’re going to grill the salmon, fold a paper towel into a 3” square, and soak this pad in a small dish of canola oil. Swab the grill racks thoroughly with the oil-soaked pad, then immediately set the filet on the hot, oiled rack with the skinned side up (pretty side down).
4. Turn the heat down to medium and cover the grill. Cook the salmon on that side until it has nice grill marks and will release from the grill without sticking, about 4 minutes.
5. While the salmon is grilling, toast the bread on the grill or in your toaster.
6. Use the same paper towel to oil the nearby grill space, and then carefully flip the salmon onto the newly oiled patch. Cook for another couple of minutes until it’s done to your liking. We like it pretty rare, but keep in mind that the thinner tail section will cook faster than the thicker sections. You can either cut the tail off when it’s cooked and let the rest of the salmon cook a bit more, cut the tail section off before you grill it and cook it separately, or just let the tail part get more well-done than the rest of the filet for those in your family who prefer it that way.
7. Remove the salmon from the grill to a plate while you prepare the sandwiches.
8. Spread each slice of toast with a thick layer of guacamole, top with the salmon, and sprinkle with red onions. Serve immediately with a margarita or a cold beer!

guacamole
I buy bags of avocados all year ‘round at Costco. Here’s how to ripen and store the avocados from Costco so they don’t get overripe and go to waste. Buy a bag of them when they are rock-hard, and set them on your counter. Every day (you must be vigilant), squeeze them very gently to see how soft they are getting. When they have just begun to get soft (don’t wait until they are squishy), put them in the refrigerator RIGHT AWAY—this will more or less arrest their further ripening, and you will have a treasure trove of perfectly ripe avocados for a week or more.

¼ to ½ cup minced onion (to your taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 jalepeno peppers, seeded with a spoon and minced
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
3 ripe avocados
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1. After mincing the onion, scoop it into a glass or bowl and cover with cold water and let it soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  (This takes away some of the bite of the raw onion.)
2. Put the garlic, jalepeno, cilantro, salt, and cumin in a medium bowl. 
3. Halve, pit, and peel the avocados.
4. Drain the onion well in a sieve and add to the bowl, stir with a fork.  Put one avocado into the bowl and mash the flesh with the onion mixture.
5. Cube the remaining 2 avocados into ½” pieces and put the pieces into the bowl.  Sprinkle the lime juice over the diced avocado and mix entire contents of bowl lightly with a fork until combined but still chunky.  Adjust seasoning with salt and lime juice. Try not to eat the entire bowl while you’re testing it.
6. You can cover it with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto surface of guacamole, and refrigerate it for a few hours before serving, if you like.

 


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