Here's what we do...
There are plenty of recipes for salmon but I’ll only talk about what we do. We have expertise-- we eat our profit margin about four times a week.
First, about marinade. There are many. But the key thing is to marinade only a few minutes. Too long changes the texture. Fresh sockeye salmon really does not need marinade, it’s done for taste. Try some melted butter and lemon juice basted over just as it goes in the oven, with some garlic and black pepper. I often marinade for taste but apply the marinade only minutes before cooking.
Next … cooking times. Everyone seems to know you shouldn’t overcook fish. But it takes attention to make it right. I always heat the oven or the grill hot-hot, 450 degrees or so, on a plank or cookie sheet or on the grill. Put the fish in and turn the heat down, or leave it, but cook only a few minutes. You want the center translucent, not opaque, when you take the fish out. It continues to cook because the plank or sheet is hot, so we dish it up soon, we don’t let it stay on the hot plank. It tastes best when it is still a tiny bit translucent in the middle when you eat it.
Gwen and I eat our salmon the same way, time after time, because it is so good, so tasty, that we just don’t get tired of it. (I like the cholesterol counts I get too). We cook on a gas grill, outside, yes, even in the Alaska winter. I have a steel plate made to use for small items, so the fish won’t fall through. I heat it fully hot, as hot as it goes. I drop the salmon on, wait about 4 minutes and turn the pieces. They are crispy on the bottom surface but don’t flake apart. I give it another about 4 minutes, turn the grill off, wait a couple more, and take it off the grill.
I prepare the fish by cutting into small chunks, say about 2 inches square or the like. I turn the grill on, then mix fish in the marinade, then cook. I make a good marinade. I mix Yoshida Original Sauce and BBQ sauce 50-50 and add a fair bit of black pepper and some garlic salt, and mix it up before adding the fish, then I add the fish into the bowl and mix up the whole batch. For BBQ sauce I like Sweet Baby Ray’s the best, and for garlic salt the clear choice is Goya Adobo.
At fish camp we prepare the same way, cook on a cookie sheet in the oven if we can’t make a little wood fire on our grill. Yes, we work hours and hours, catch thousands of pounds some days, are totally dirty and fish slimy, and we come home and eat fish.
But, Sarah gave us an alder plank, so we use that in the winter when we would get blown off the deck or buried in a snow slide off the roof, that’s every other day. In that case I preheat the plank to about 450, way more than the plank book says to do. I put the fish on and cook until done as I described, and remember if you leave the fish on the plank it will cook, so I take it off the plank.
When I cook on the plank I usually change the marinade. We mix mayonnaise and ranch dressing 50-50 and add a tablespoon of lemon juice and always the Goya adobo. But again, I marinade for only about 5 minutes.
Now, about smoked salmon, here’s what I do: I open the package and eat the whole thing …. Yummmmm…
But, Gwen likes to conserve a little. So, a fancy cracker, bit of cream cheese, small flake of smoked salmon, goes a long way. She makes a pâté sometimes.
We hope you like it!