Salmon season is in high gear with wild Chinook and Sockeye salmon and their cousin, the Steelhead (really a large trout), running in the Columbia River. Out in the ocean there are Pacific Ocean King and Ivory King, both Chinook salmon, being troll-caught off our coast, with Kenai Red—a Sockeye that is new to me—and Coho being hauled onto the doughty fleet of boats in Alaska's Pacific waters. (I know this because Lyf Gildersleeve of Flying Fish Company shared the salmon update in his latest newsletter.)
Kenai Red salmon.
The other evening Dave had smoked a luscious fillet of Kenai Red that I'd been given as a sample from the Kenai Red Fish Company, which offers a subscription—instead of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) it's called a CSF (Community Supported Fishery)—for a season's share of the salmon caught in the Cook Inlet near Homer, Alaska.
There were a couple of cups of the fillet left over from dinner, so I put it away thinking I might throw it into a chowder or use it for a batch of salmon cakes in the coming week. Then, when my brother asked us over for dinner a couple of nights later I queried him about what we could contribute. He said, "How about an appetizer?"
The ingredients, pre-tossing.
That's when I remembered the salmon I'd stowed in the fridge, and after rummaging in the vegetable bin I came up with half a fennel bulb, some green onions and two local yellow plums. Maybe a fresh, crunchy salad to put on crackers or crostini would fit the bill.
2-3 c. leftover salmon, flaked
1/2 med. bulb fennel, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. fennel fronds, chopped
2 med. plums, halved and sliced thinly
1-2 Tbsp. capers
2 green onions, sliced thinly
3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon, added to taste
Salt, to taste
Put salmon, fennel, fennel fronds, plums, capers, green onions and pine nuts in large mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the ingredients and add half of lemon juice. Toss gently to combine but don't break up the salmon too much. Adjust lemon juice and add salt to taste.
This would be a great lunch salad or light entrée served on a bed of fresh-from-the-garden (or farmers' market) lettuce. It would also be terrific combined with pasta or a cooked grain like farro, barley or parched green wheat (frikeh).