After seven long months of waiting, fresh Copper River salmon is finally here!
What's so special about it?
Copper river salmon come from the Copper River in Alaska, a 300 mile long 1-mile wide river in Alaska that is well known for its salmon runs. Each year 2 million salmon swim upstream (climbing over 3000 feet in elevation!) to their spawning grounds up north.
Map courtesy of Copper River Salmon Organization
All wild fish from Alaska is sustainably harvested. The Alaska Constitution mandates that fish "be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle."
As a result, fishing is highly regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Biologists collect data about the numbers of migrating fish throughout the season. This number governs the times and dates at which fisherman can actually fish.
The Copper River King season runs from mid-May to about late June, which means we're right in the middle of it now!
I recently had a chance to try a beautiful super fresh filet (right off the boat!) of Copper River King.
Oh My Goodness.
It was seriously the best salmon I'd ever had in my entire life.
When something is intrinsically so delicious, there's no need to add a ton of other flavors to it. I simply sprinkled on a generous amount of kosher salt and pepper.
Since my parents were in town this weekend, we ended up having a barbecue at my sister's place. She and her husband actually have a nice deck and grill, so I was able to try my hand at grilling (something I never get to do in my tiny kitchen!).
I found great grilling instructions on Cooks Illustrated, which is what I used.
After making a nice fire with charcoal (sorry, my brother-in-law took care of this part so I don't know more detailed instructions), wipe the grills with a canola oil-soaked paper towel. Grill the salmon filet skin side down until the skin starts to shrink and turn black, about 2-3 minutes. Flip over to the other side and grill until the fish is opaque throughout yet translucent at the very center.
Of course, if you like your salmon a bit more rare, you can dial down the grilling time accordingly. Note: if you're salmon filet is less than 1.5 inches thick, subtract 30 seconds off of the time cooking times.
Slice and serve!
My brother-in-law grilled some delicious onions, zucchini, and asparagus to go with this fantastic meal.
And the fish?
Like I said earlier, this is definitely the best salmon I've ever had. It was fatty, succulent, flavorful, and grilled up beautifully. The skin was crispy and I loved the way the fat melted in a way that made the filet even better. I've always loved King salmon the best, but I think this particular type of King salmon blows other ones away.
After re-grilling a bit longer
Cooked Salmon taste Good?
Although I typically love salmon raw, in this case, I think Copper River King tastes just as good cooked. The fish has so much fat content that it doesn't become dry at all even after becoming fully cooked. It's juicy, flavorful, and simply incredible.
I absolutely loved it and am totally going to go out and look for some more!
Copper River Salmon Sleuth
I have been given the awesome yet challenging task of being a Copper River salmon sleuth this summer in partnership with the Copper River Salmon Organization. I'll be covering the Boston area mostly. I'll be keeping updates on a separate Copper River salmon page (click here to see the page). You can also click the "Salmon" tab at the linkbar at the top of the blog.
Feel free to check back often! I'll also try to tweet and post updates on Facebook as I find them.
Good luck finding some!
I received the salmon filet for free from the Copper River Salmon Association.
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