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It's Copper River Salmon Season

It's Copper River Salmon Season
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  • It's Copper River Salmon Season

    Post #1 - May 21st, 2006, 5:51 pm
    Post #1 - May 21st, 2006, 5:51 pm Post #1 - May 21st, 2006, 5:51 pm
    Spring has sprung. The birds and the bees are doing their thing, the trees are turning green, gardens are being planted and the salmon are running on the Copper River. Life is good. I went to Dirk's yesterday and picked up some first-of-the-season Copper River salmon and some soft shell crabs. I grilled them up and it was so good, I repeated the dinner tonight; this time with the addition of some diver scallops to guild the salmon as well as some grilled asparagus. This dinner screams spring, and I recommend it to all.

    Copper River Salmon topped with Diver Scallops and BBQ Soft Shell Crab
    Image

    Dirk's Fish and Gourmet Shop
    2070 N. Clybourn Ave
    Chicago, IL
    773-404-3475
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - May 22nd, 2006, 8:12 am
    Post #2 - May 22nd, 2006, 8:12 am Post #2 - May 22nd, 2006, 8:12 am
    stevez wrote:Spring has sprung. The birds and the bees are doing their thing, the trees are turning green, gardens are being planted and the salmon are running on the Copper River. Life is good.

    Steve,

    Life is very good at the Z household! Great looking meal, really wonderful.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - May 25th, 2006, 8:39 pm
    Post #3 - May 25th, 2006, 8:39 pm Post #3 - May 25th, 2006, 8:39 pm
    hmf. i wonder how that'd taste as sashimi. Katsu-san (not Katsu-san of Chicago, but Katsu-san of Tam Sushi, Studio City) was talking about how copper river sake is the only type of sake he likes..
  • Post #4 - May 25th, 2006, 8:58 pm
    Post #4 - May 25th, 2006, 8:58 pm Post #4 - May 25th, 2006, 8:58 pm
    TonyC wrote:hmf. i wonder how that'd taste as sashimi. Katsu-san (not Katsu-san of Chicago, but Katsu-san of Tam Sushi, Studio City) was talking about how copper river sake is the only type of sake he likes..


    I think that you meant, "Tama." :wink:

    Good choice.

    I was a fan of Katsu on 3rd, too.

    Carry on!

    E.M.
  • Post #5 - May 26th, 2006, 8:17 am
    Post #5 - May 26th, 2006, 8:17 am Post #5 - May 26th, 2006, 8:17 am
    TonyC wrote:hmf. i wonder how that'd taste as sashimi. Katsu-san (not Katsu-san of Chicago, but Katsu-san of Tam Sushi, Studio City) was talking about how copper river sake is the only type of sake he likes..


    When I was at Dirk's himself was telling a customer how to cook the Copper River, and he said "you could eat it raw..." but I got the impression that it wasn't "sushi grade" and it was more of a wistful thing (as if the thought went "you COULD but I know you won't"). Aren't there regulations about freezing fish before you can call it "sushi grade"? And I'm pretty sure this fish was NOT pre-frozen :)
    Leek

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  • Post #6 - May 26th, 2006, 9:57 am
    Post #6 - May 26th, 2006, 9:57 am Post #6 - May 26th, 2006, 9:57 am
    sake is one of the greatest sashimi: soft, melts in your mouth, unctuous, flavorful, moist, oily...all good descriptors. raw Sockeye salmon is hard, chewy, lean, firm, and crunchy - the texture is terrible for sashimi (IMO). This discussion is made all the more difficult because there are five species of salmon in the copper river, all totally different. Sockeye salmon is the most popular as a cooking fish, and Copper river king salmon would make decent sushi but I dont think i have ever seen sushi made with any of the other four species. I can guarantee that Dirk doesnt like the way that raw sockeye tastes and feels - you COULD eat it raw, but it's a lot better cooked.

    the regulations regarding freezing of fish for sashimi are generally not applied to shellfish, salmon, tuna, or the other generally accepted as safe fishes. Most sushi places serve them fresh.

    Erik.
  • Post #7 - May 26th, 2006, 10:51 pm
    Post #7 - May 26th, 2006, 10:51 pm Post #7 - May 26th, 2006, 10:51 pm
    SushiGaijin wrote:This discussion is made all the more difficult because there are five species of salmon in the copper river, all totally different.


    What, praytell, are the others? I never had heard of Copper River "varietals" as it were. I thought Copper River and sockeye were used interchangeably. So there is King Salmon and what else? Anything to specifically look for?
  • Post #8 - May 27th, 2006, 1:14 am
    Post #8 - May 27th, 2006, 1:14 am Post #8 - May 27th, 2006, 1:14 am
    There are six species of salmon, five of which are found in the copper river during mating season. Salmon are anadromes, spending some of their life in saltwater and some in freshwater. when the salmon are running, most of the rivers of the pacific northwest are home to all five species of pacific salmon: Sockeye, king(chinook), pink, chum, and coho(silver). Some people consider steelhead to be salmon, but in fact they are overgrown rainbow trout (genus oncorhyncus, which curiously enough also includes king salmon.) The sockeye and king are the most important as a fresh product, but pink and coho are utilized also. chum salmon is used mostly for animal feed. Sockeye and king are both good salmons, regardless of the river of origin.

    Erik.
  • Post #9 - June 1st, 2007, 10:25 am
    Post #9 - June 1st, 2007, 10:25 am Post #9 - June 1st, 2007, 10:25 am
    Bumping this back up because it's that time of year again. I scored a beautiful, 3.5-pound piece of Copper River King salmon at Foodstuffs-Evanston yesterday for the meager price of $19.99/#.

    It's curing right now and I plan to cold-smoke it into lox sometime on Sunday. While I make lox pretty often, I've never used Copper River salmon before, so this should be a real treat.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - June 1st, 2007, 10:51 am
    Post #10 - June 1st, 2007, 10:51 am Post #10 - June 1st, 2007, 10:51 am
    I'm curious - I thought I heard a while back that Copper River was a brand for salmon, and that not all "Copper River" salmon actually come from the Copper River. Is this true, or is my faulty memory acting up again?
  • Post #11 - June 1st, 2007, 11:25 am
    Post #11 - June 1st, 2007, 11:25 am Post #11 - June 1st, 2007, 11:25 am
    nr706 wrote:I'm curious - I thought I heard a while back that Copper River was a brand for salmon, and that not all "Copper River" salmon actually come from the Copper River. Is this true, or is my faulty memory acting up again?

    The posts above mine, by SushiGaijin, seem clarify this but I'm certainly no expert.

    For me, the 2 main criteria in buying salmon are that is wild and that it is well-marbled. The piece I bought yesterday definitely met both conditions. And the color of the flesh is a deep, robust orange that really is unlike any other wild salmon I normally purchase. It's too late to take a starting picture now but I'll try to remember to do so before I cold-smoke it on Sunday. NR, you live in the area. If you get a chance, go over to Foodstuffs and take a look at this stuff. It's absolutely gorgeous.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - June 1st, 2007, 11:44 am
    Post #12 - June 1st, 2007, 11:44 am Post #12 - June 1st, 2007, 11:44 am
    I've been buying "Irish organic" salmon recently.
    What is the general consensus on that?
  • Post #13 - June 1st, 2007, 1:35 pm
    Post #13 - June 1st, 2007, 1:35 pm Post #13 - June 1st, 2007, 1:35 pm
    Picked up a side of Copper River King Salmon at Grash's in Milwaukee, @$40/#. Beautful side of Salmon. A light hot smoke with hickory, delicious but expensive!
    Need to find a cheaper source with real Copper River. Captain John at Grash's keeps close track of the openings and closings of the Rivers and I know the fish is authentic, but the real test is the taste. Much of what I see has been frozen and has that frozen slump to it rather standing out and slightly translucent.-Dick
  • Post #14 - June 1st, 2007, 1:38 pm
    Post #14 - June 1st, 2007, 1:38 pm Post #14 - June 1st, 2007, 1:38 pm
    DML wrote:I've been buying "Irish organic" salmon recently.
    What is the general consensus on that?


    Farmed salmon. http://www.atlanticfare.com/products.php?id=6&lang=1
    -Dick
  • Post #15 - June 1st, 2007, 2:07 pm
    Post #15 - June 1st, 2007, 2:07 pm Post #15 - June 1st, 2007, 2:07 pm
    budrichard wrote:Picked up a side of Copper River King Salmon at Grash's in Milwaukee, @$40/#. Beautful side of Salmon. A light hot smoke with hickory, delicious but expensive!
    Need to find a cheaper source with real Copper River. Captain John at Grash's keeps close track of the openings and closings of the Rivers and I know the fish is authentic, but the real test is the taste. Much of what I see has been frozen and has that frozen slump to it rather standing out and slightly translucent.-Dick


    I bought some prisitne Copper River salmon the other day at Whole Foods on Peterson. It cost in the $23/lb range IIRC. Dirk's was sold out, so WF was my second choice. It turned ot that the WF salmon was every bit as good as the stuff I had previously bought at Dirks for more $$.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:10 pm
    Post #16 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:10 pm Post #16 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:10 pm
    Copper River Sockeye Salmon purchased today at Costco $9.99/lb - rejoicing that the season has arrived.

    Incidentally re: the upper threads about eating it raw - I have had it as sashimi; Clearly not as melt-in-your-mouth-buttery-smooth as farmed salmon.

    Incidentally, tried the Norwegian sometimes Scottish Atlantic farmed salmon sold at H-mart for sashimi/sushi which was just fine for $8.99/lb - in fact better than much of the stuff we usually get at the Japanese markets - also lasted longer in the fridge.
  • Post #17 - June 5th, 2007, 10:42 am
    Post #17 - June 5th, 2007, 10:42 am Post #17 - June 5th, 2007, 10:42 am
    Here's a pic of the cold-smoked salmon I made with the piece of Copper River King I bought at Foodstuffs-Evanston last week . . .

    Image

    Not only is this photo completely unretouched but the cure contained no curing salt whatsoever. You can see the intense color, which was just as wonderful when the fish was raw. The noticeability of the marbling is somewhat diminished after curing.

    Other than flavoring agents, I used only salt, sugar and brown sugar to cure it, for about 60 hours. After that, I cold-smoked it for about 4 hours with apple wood. It is absolutely delicious. I've probably made lox about 25 times and this definitely the best batch I've ever produced.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #18 - June 5th, 2007, 11:16 am
    Post #18 - June 5th, 2007, 11:16 am Post #18 - June 5th, 2007, 11:16 am
    I am always amazed at how much "Copper River" salmon is sold. While the Copper River is indeed a major resource for commercial fishing, I think the boundries of the fishery have been stretched for marketing purposes to include adjacent areas. I am sure there is no perceivable difference between a Copper River King and a Chignik Chinook. The latter just doesn't sound nearly as appetizing.

    Here is a link to a great guide to the Alaskan commercial fisheries and the seasons for each species. http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/geninfo/ ... ason_1.pdf

    It is interesting that the Chinook (or King) season in the Prince William Sound/Copper River area is only 6 weeks long. It ends June 30, so get it while you can.

    BTW Great looking Lox, Ronnie S.
  • Post #19 - June 6th, 2007, 10:06 pm
    Post #19 - June 6th, 2007, 10:06 pm Post #19 - June 6th, 2007, 10:06 pm
    I bought some of the possibly-adjacent-to-Copper-River salmon at Costco earlier in the week, $9.99/lb. versus $19.99 at Whole Foods, and cooked it on the grill tonight, marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, dijon mustard and olive oil, a couple of chunks of applewood...

    Everybody pretty much agreed that it was the best salmon they'd ever tasted, so good that-- believe it or not-- the older son didn't even need to use ketchup with it! (Younger son couldn't break the habit, there was a chance he might accidentally taste fish if each bite didn't come in a protective tablespoon of the good stuff.) Anyway, lush, oily, tender flaky salmon flesh, a hint of sweet from the marinade, a kiss of woodsmoke... great meal, not all that expensive to make and there's even enough left over to use in a salad tomorrow or something.
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  • Post #20 - June 6th, 2007, 11:53 pm
    Post #20 - June 6th, 2007, 11:53 pm Post #20 - June 6th, 2007, 11:53 pm
    We had gone to the Costco on Touhy the other day to pick up something the Clybourn one didn't have. There were two lonely containers of the Copper River salmon as I was browsing by. I picked one up to look at it and thought the other might look at tad better...ooops, too late, another woman already had it and was showing it to her mother. Needless to say, I put the one in my hand into my cart.

    I was so hoping to smoke it. But, we had a minor fiasco and grilled part of it that night. Absolutely wonderful - as good as what I usually get at Whole Foods this time of year. The rest of it went into the freezer. . .I still would like to smoke it but am not sure if frozen will do as well.

    I am hoping that the Clybourn Costco has some. Maybe early next week that can be my next smoking endeavor.
  • Post #21 - June 7th, 2007, 12:08 am
    Post #21 - June 7th, 2007, 12:08 am Post #21 - June 7th, 2007, 12:08 am
    I find that farm raised Salmon often smokes up better than wild, largely because of a higher fat content. Flavor when grilled is another story.
    Lacking fins or tail
    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

    Jewish haiku.
  • Post #22 - June 7th, 2007, 1:22 am
    Post #22 - June 7th, 2007, 1:22 am Post #22 - June 7th, 2007, 1:22 am
    kuhdo wrote:I find that farm raised Salmon often smokes up better than wild, largely because of a higher fat content. Flavor when grilled is another story.

    This may be true for hot-smoking (not really familiar with it) but in my experience, it's definitely not the case with cold-smoking. That said, I've only used farm-raised salmon for lox once (when wild wasn't available) . . . but it yielded a noticeably inferior finished product, which was unpleasantly dense and seemed to lack any fat whatsoever. Maybe it was just that particular piece of fish -- and the fact that it was farm-raised was merely incidental.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #23 - June 7th, 2007, 7:01 am
    Post #23 - June 7th, 2007, 7:01 am Post #23 - June 7th, 2007, 7:01 am
    Despite the fact that several of my relatives are salmon fishermen in BC, and my parents lived only blocks from where many of the Alaskan fishing vessels unloaded their catches, my Mom has always had good things to say about the quality of Costco Sockeye. I take that as a solid endorsement.

    My uncle, who smokes his fresh caught fish in a cardboard box, cans the smoked salmon in mason jars with a little brine. The results look like lab specimens, but the texture doesn't suffer that much (like with freezing), and it keeps for many months. Has anybody ever tried this?
  • Post #24 - June 7th, 2007, 11:55 am
    Post #24 - June 7th, 2007, 11:55 am Post #24 - June 7th, 2007, 11:55 am
    ronnie_suburban, I am hoping you can help fill a remarkable vacuum in my cold smoking knowledge. What temp do you use to cold smoke the salmon? I have little experience smoking in general, and that is with hot smoking not cold. I would like to try some salmon both ways - hot and cold - and some cheese. The smoker I bought has a low temp of 100, though. Not sure - is that too high?
  • Post #25 - June 7th, 2007, 2:34 pm
    Post #25 - June 7th, 2007, 2:34 pm Post #25 - June 7th, 2007, 2:34 pm
    ViewsAskew wrote:ronnie_suburban, I am hoping you can help fill a remarkable vacuum in my cold smoking knowledge. What temp do you use to cold smoke the salmon? I have little experience smoking in general, and that is with hot smoking not cold. I would like to try some salmon both ways - hot and cold - and some cheese. The smoker I bought has a low temp of 100, though. Not sure - is that too high?

    You would die laughing if you saw my "rig," which basically consists of a stainless upright smoker, an 8-foot length of dryer duct and a large cardboard box. I'll take a few pics this weekend (as I scored some Copper River sockeye today) and start a new thread with them, asap.

    For now, I'll say that temperature-wise, the key is keeping the smoke chamber under 100 degrees F and preferably no higher than 80 degrees F. This is accomplished by forcing the smoke to travel some distance (through the duct), which causes it to cool and placing ice at a few points in the chain to further facilitate the cooling. I'll detail this in the new thread when I get it started.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - June 7th, 2007, 2:37 pm
    Post #26 - June 7th, 2007, 2:37 pm Post #26 - June 7th, 2007, 2:37 pm
    Sounds inventive - and it works, so that's all that counts! Looking forward to the pics.
  • Post #27 - June 19th, 2007, 9:38 pm
    Post #27 - June 19th, 2007, 9:38 pm Post #27 - June 19th, 2007, 9:38 pm
    Mike G wrote:I bought some of the possibly-adjacent-to-Copper-River salmon at Costco

    Mike,

    Had one of Costco's tasty little racks of lamb in mind for dinner, a just-right meal for 2, but am now happy they were out as, remembering your post, I went for the $9.99/lb Copper River Salmon. Buttery rich salmon flesh cooked up quick on on a Weber Kettle with 3/4's of a Weber Charcoal Chimney's worth of lump, which I accented with a small chunk of apple wood. Total cost of dinner for two, with grilled tomatoes, onions and corn just under $20. And made for a delicious, inexpensive, easy to prepare meal.

    Copper River Salmon (6.19.07)
    Image
    Image

    If at all interested in presentation I suggest two spatulas, at least one of which is of the large/wide type.
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - June 19th, 2007, 10:14 pm
    Post #28 - June 19th, 2007, 10:14 pm Post #28 - June 19th, 2007, 10:14 pm
    Mike G wrote:I bought some of the possibly-adjacent-to-Copper-River salmon at Costco earlier in the week, $9.99/lb. versus $19.99 at Whole Foods, and cooked it on the grill tonight, marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, dijon mustard and olive oil

    Is this the recipe from Weber's Art of the Grill cookbook? This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Good for dinner parties - easy to do and impresses the socks off people. I used to make it all the time when I lived in Chile where salmon is so cheap that people (local people, that is, not transplanted Midwesterners) get sick of it.

    I'm inspired to make it again. I just took a big beautiful filet of Alaskan salmon out of the freezer to thaw for tomorrow. Bought it at Costco. One of my best friends from high school lives in Cordova and makes her living fishing for salmon there, but I've yet to figure out how to get her to send it to me in bulk on dry ice.
  • Post #29 - June 19th, 2007, 10:21 pm
    Post #29 - June 19th, 2007, 10:21 pm Post #29 - June 19th, 2007, 10:21 pm
    I'm not sure where I got it, it's just been a standard that I can easily throw together for half a dozen years. It certainly works well.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #30 - June 19th, 2007, 10:36 pm
    Post #30 - June 19th, 2007, 10:36 pm Post #30 - June 19th, 2007, 10:36 pm
    Yes, it certainly does. Can't wait til tomorrow night.

    Sounds like I'm not the only one who discovered Costco has the best price on wild Alaskan salmon. I'm tempted to stock up. How long do you think salmon will keep in the freezer?

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