Copper River King Salmon

Out in Alaska runs Copper River whose name derives from the rich copper deposits found along its banks.  It's fed by 12 tributaries, is a mile wide and runs at 7 miles per hour.  Besides being the 10th largest river in the US, it also is home to the best salmon in the world -- flourishing in the "pure positive environment that creates salmon perfection."

This Summer I'll be representing Dallas as one of the Copper River Salmon Fresh Catch Crew Members where I'll be pointing out places I spot CRS through my Facebook Page and Twitter and sharing all the wonderful recipes I'll be making using Copper River Salmon.  My first shipment arrived last week: Copper River King Salmon -- the king of quality, flavor and nutrition.  Prized for its exceptionally high oil content, succulent texture and rich flavor, this luxury fish literally melts in your mouth.

 

Can ya'll imagine my excitement when he finally arrived ( I think it was a he...)?!!?! I wanted to come up with a recipe that allowed the salmon to shine like a star. With the hot Summer temperatures we've already been having in Texas, I kept in mind of what a good Summer dish entails: light and colorful, with just a hint of acid, and a plus if it's healthy (cuz it's swimsuit season y'all!). Can I have a drum roll please? I present to you: Grilled Copper River Salmon with a Herbed Tri-Pepper Salsa and Fried Green Tomatoes.

I love the versatility and simplicity of this dish.  It can be served warm or cold, it's easy to make and plate (for family dinners or parties) and it's freaking delicious AND healthy!!  I know. Life is good, it's reeeeeaaaal good, like this recipe :)  Don't forget to follow my Facebook Page and Twitter for updates on where I spot Copper River Salmon in the Dallas area!

Despite the fly RUDELY inviting himself into my shot, I thought this turned out to be a pretty cool picture after all.  Can't blame the fly for having good taste in salmon :)

Copper River King Salmon
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Author: Joy Zhang
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 6-8
A perfectly grilled Copper River King Salmon fillet served with a Basil Tri-Pepper Salsa and Fried Green Tomatoes. The perfect appetizer for Summer!
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds Copper River King Salmon fillet
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • handful of fennel, chopped
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 lime squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pounds green tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Heat grill and follow salmon cooking instructions located below in "Notes". I used a charcoal grill and cooked a 4" thick 2 pound salmon fillet in about 20-25 minutes over medium heat (NEVER COOK FISH ON HIGH HEAT WHEN GRILLING)
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your tri-pepper salsa. In a large bowl mix the chopped peppers, basil, fennel, lime juice, honey and a pinch of salt together, adjust flavors to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Next prepare your fried green tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes about 1" to 1 1/2" thick and dust in flour. (I keep scraps and butts as my "test batch" to make sure my oil temp and flavorings are right.) Beat the eggs and milk together until combined. In a large pan mix the cornmeal, Cajun mix and salt thoroughly together. Dip the dusted tomato slices in the egg and milk mixture and then coat generously in the cornmeal mixture. Set pieces aside in a large plate or pan.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels to drain the tomatoes when you fry them. Take a large cast iron skillet and heat vegetable oil over medium high heat, about 4-5 minutes. Using one of your test pieces, drop it into the hot oil and see how long it takes to cook. It should take about 3-4 minutes for a nice golden brown, adjust temperature of heat accordingly. Once oil is ready, line the pan with tomato slices, making sure they do not touch one another. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. When ready to serve, reheat in oven on a wire rack at 400F for 10 minutes.
  5. To serve: You can serve this appetizer in martini dishes or to plate them the way I do simply use a hollowed out can. Break up the salmon fillet into big chunky pieces and layer it on the bottom. Place a slice of fried green tomato on top of the salmon and then spoon the tri-pepper salsa next. Finish off with one more slice of fried green tomato and garnish with fresh basil and herbs. Serve immediately.
Notes

How long do I grill salmon? (from http://www.howtodothings.com/food-and-drink/a1889-how-to-grill-salmon.html)

How long you grill salmon (and most fish) is based on the temperature of the fire, the thickness of the fish at its thickest part, and the distance of the grill rack from the heat source. Never let salmon touch the flames on the grill.

Most fish cook quickly. A good rule of thumb is to grill fish for approximately 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness cooking it at 4-inches above the heat source. For grilling salmon, use the following as a guide:

* Salmon Filets: will cook in approximately 4-5 minutes. Do not turn over when grilling. * Salmon Steaks: will cook in approximately 4-7 minutes. Turn once to cook on both sides. You can also sear the outside flesh on a hot grill and finish grilling on medium heat. * Whole Salmon: Cook slow and low. Use the thickness rule stated above.

Again, these grilling times are approximate. Always keep a sharp eye on the salmon to keep it from overcooking. Fish does not hold its heat well so always serve the salmon immediately after grilling.

So, how exactly do I grill salmon?

1. Choose the type of salmon you want to grill (filet, steak or whole). Some recipes require specific types of salmon. 2. Lightly oil the grill rack or two-sided grilling basket by spraying or brushing on olive oil before placing salmon directly on the grill. (There is no need to do this step if you are grilling salmon in an aluminum foil pouch.) 3. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat (300 and 325 degrees). Grilling salmon on a gas grill is ideal, but if you are using a charcoal grill, remember that the coals are generally ready when they are bright red and all actual flames have subsided. 4. Grill the salmon based on approximate grilling times noted above, making sure no flame touches the fish directly. The finished grilled salmon will flake gently when you part it with a fork and the flesh will feel firm when pressed. Like meat, salmon continues to cook a little bit after it is removed from the grill so it is better to remove it when it looks a tiny bit raw or deeper pink inside. Grilling salmon slowly and steadily over a medium heat will allow the fish to retain most of its own juices. 5. After you grill the salmon, serve it immediately.