Yesterday, was ‘salmon night’ at my house. I was trying to decide what to have and had a conundrum – Columbia River Chinook, Bristol Bay Sockeye, or fresh troll-caught coho?
Columbia River Chinook Salmon
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re lucky to have a diversity of salmon to choose from and
a lengthy season. Right now, the Columbia River Chinook season is underway and we’re getting in fresh Chinook right off the river. The coho salmon run is just starting in earnest and is forecast to be a banner year with a total return to the mouth of the Columbia of over 1.5 million fish.
Dock to Dinner Table: Fresh Salmon from Bell Buoy
With the Chinook run in full swing and the coho numbers picking up daily, we are busy down at Bell Buoy capturing the quality of these fish.
The scene is modern with LED lights, rubber aprons, plastic totes, and hip-hop thumping in the background, but the essence of the moment is no different than it was on the Columbia River 120 years ago: men and women pack around a table soaked in blood, slime, and scales, large Chinook salmon move down the line, sharp knives quickly but surgically remove each fillet, preparing it for people near and far to enjoy.
At Bell Buoy, some of those fillets are immediately put in the market – fresh and ready for dinner. We sell fresh fillets in our online store too. Others are sent to the smoker to make peppered, teriyaki, or regular smoked salmon. Still, others are skinned and packed into cans – destined for a mid-day snack of regular or smoked canned salmon. Nothing goes to waste. The bones, fins, and heads are packed away and saved for crab bait later this winter.
How to Cook Salmon
In case you were wondering, I chose fresh coho for dinner. For a fish that spends years roaming the ocean, avoiding sea lions, and finding a way back to its home river, the mighty salmon is worth celebrating.
The baked salmon recipe below does just that. It's simple and easily adaptable. Just remember, the key to cooking salmon is to not overcook it. When the salmon just begins to flake, it's done.
Pistachio Crusted Salmon
- 2-3 six-ounce skin on, salmon fillets (any salmon works)
- 1-2 Tablespoons mayonnaise per portion
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard per portion
- 1-2 Tablespoon finely diced pistachios per portion
- 3 Tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs per portion
- Fresh squeezed lemon
1. Cut parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to wrap portions of salmon. Place salmon portions on parchment paper or foil skin side down.
2. Mix mayonnaise and dijon mustard. Spread on salmon.
3. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top of mayo/Dijon spread.
4. Sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs on top of salmon and gently press into mayo/dijon/pistachio mixture.
5. Season to taste (I prefer salt/pepper and a Mediterranean seasoning)
6. Top each salmon portion with a pat (or two) of butter.
7. Wrap and place in a 375-degree preheated oven. Bake for 23 minutes or until done. Squeeze lemon on salmon and serve.