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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Monday, January 9, 2012

Salmon, Salish, and Shishi

I gained three or four pounds over the holidays, so it's time to get back to eating sensibly. One easy way to cut back on fat and calories is to eat fish. And since a fisherman friend was kind enough to sell us over 35 lb of fresh Coho salmon last fall at a very reasonable price (we cut it into steaks and froze it), I've decided to cook salmon once a week.

http://nativeamericans.phillipmartin.info/na_pnw_salmon_art.htm

My Grandpa Charlie, a Nooksack Indian, made the best salmon I ever tasted. No-I am not native, Grandpa was my much-loved step-grandfather. I shall save the story of my dashing Native Grandfather and my pretty Scandanavian Grandmother for another day. Grandpa, in traditional Northwest Native fashion, cooked his fish over split alder wood.

If you ever come to the Pacific Northwest, you must go to a potlatch (a native celebration) and eat salmon cooked this way. (And no, even though many restaurants claim to cook salmon over wood, few really capture the essence of Native cookery.) Tillicum Village is a nice boatride from Seattle on Blake Island, and a wonderful place to eat salmon prepared in the native fashion, while learning some of the traditions of the Coast Salish peoples.

A few years ago hubby and I visited Neah Bay, home of the Makah tribe, and had a lovely meal of alder smoked salmon that was cooked right on the beach. Salmon aside, the Makahs have the one of the finest tribal museums in the United States, full of artifacts from an ancient village that had been covered by a mudslide, perfectly preserved by the mud-a kind of a Western Pompeii. And if you go there, don't hesitate to get a permit to hike out to Shi-Shi beach. It's a long trek through the rainforest to one of the most glorious West Coast beaches ever! Travel Channel included it in their 10 most beautiful US beaches a few years back.

But I digress... Salmon. Here's the problem. I never learned to cook it from my Grandpa. And even if I could, I don't want to go outside. I'm gonna need some good recipes to make salmon dinner interesting once a week for the next several months. So I did what you'd do...checked out the web. Tonight we had Well-Dressed Salmon by Rachael Ray, courtesy of the foodnetwork.com. It was easy, healthful, and very tasty. Here's the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/well-dressed-salmon-recipe/index.html



Shishi Beach




Salmon baked around alder wood fires
Salmon being cooked at Tillicum Village on Blake Island.
http://www.tillicumvillage.com/






4 comments:

jojo said...

what? no picture of your lovely salmon dish???!!! Love.salmon.yum...My hubby works air cargo for the airline that brings down the first copper river salmon every year, you know the one. Sometimes we get to have some and it is divine!

Rebecca said...

I am very jealous of your personal "stash" of salmon! I really, really, like it. When we go to a nice restaurant, it is my meal of choice.

I don't like to handle fish of any sort at home. Guess I should get over that. (Not that I could afford to buy it at the store.)

ellen b. said...

The Bible camp we have been a part of on Whidbey Island always cooks salmon on the Wednesday during family camps. They cook it out on the pits by the lake. It's so good...
We had very little fish growing up. It wasn't in my mother's comfort zone of cooking...
Enjoy your salmon stash. I'm sure I put on at least 4 or 5 pounds, too.

olddog said...

My son and Daughter-in-law are both in the Coast Guard and were stationed in Kodiak Alaska. They had some great times salmon fishing there. I really like the Inuit drawing of the killer whale.

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