The salmon is the profound and enduring symbol of the Northwest that reminds us of the turning of the seasons. Every year, at about this time, the salmon forge upstream and flood our culture. It’s easy to see why the salmon were at the heart of the Northwest natives’ societies, bringing them health and wealth. I often wonder what a site it would have been to behold the Nehalem Bay choked and swirling with salmon like our ancestors saw it. No wonder the early settlers expected the salmon, like the old growth trees, to be here in abundance, forever. Unfortunately due to that attitude, here we are, with dwindling salmon runs and frustrated fisherman.
But I am most happy to report that this year has been a bumper year. The fishermen here in the Nehalem valley have been catching fish like the good old days. And seemingly I am married to one salmon has been on the table in abundance. We feel humbled and incredibly lucky to have such abundance. Oh and it is so good! I have been making every recipe for salmon that I’ve been meaning to make for years. It has been so fun. But there is one recipe that keeps coming up over and over. I think it is our new favorite. It is grilled cumin marinated salmon with blackberry sauce. Oh my, is it good.
I am happy to share it with you, but you MUST promise not to use it on farmed salmon. Please. Farmed salmon are not only UNhealthy to eat but they are threatening our wild runs and polluting the oceans. On top of that, it takes 2,162,000 tons of fish taken from the oceans to produce 871,200 tons of farmed salmon! Not a good trade. Here’s the corker that stopped me from eating farmed salmon, all of them are dyed! Yup, a farmed salmon’s flesh is naturally gray because they do not have access to eat their natural foods, so the farms feed red dye to the salmon right before harvesting them. (They are also low in omega 3s)
Not surprisingly, that difference means a lot in the taste. Chefs around the country rate wild salmon far superior to farmed. A recent taste test scored farmed salmon at 4.83 out of 10, while wild salmon rated 9.7. By eating wild salmon, you are giving your body and mouth something great, getting omega 3s, (that which we all seek), saving the wild runs, helping keep the oceans clean and supporting our local fisherman. Now that’s great! Remember, vote with your mouth, ask for wild salmon.
Okay I’m done preaching. Here is the recipe for you in all its glory. Enjoy the abundance from our beautiful oceans.
Cumin chipotle salmon with blackberry sauce
6 large salmon steaks, 6-8 ounces, 1 inch thick
¼ cup of olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (optional)
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, minced fine
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, minced fine
¼ – ½ teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
Dash of salt and pepper
Mix up the marinade in a bowl and drop the steaks in there and roll around in the marinade. Set in the fridge to wait for its shining moment on the grill, about 20 minutes. Zest the lime and get a small sauce pan and a squeeze the lime juice, butter or oil into it. Set on a burner at medium heat and melt the butter/oil and add the honey chipotle powder, stir together then add the blackberries. Stir it up well and simmer over the medium heat for about 5 minutes till the blackberries have lost their form and you have a fine sauce. Add the salt and pepper. Let the sauce slightly cool then squish it through a sieve to remove the seeds. You can put it back in the sauce pan and keep it on low till the salmon is done.
Time to fire up the grill! Grill the salmon steaks on a lightly oiled rack, discarding the marinade. (Use medium high heat for gas grill and medium hot charcoal coals.) Cook about 5-6 minutes on each side till just opaque in the center. Don’t overcook! Serve with sprigs of fresh rosemary and in a puddle of the sauce. Bon appetite!
That looks simply amazing. I have a huge filet of wild-caught Alaska coho Copper River salmon in my freezer. Not steaks, but I bet it’ll work for this!
Okay, my stomach is growling…
Wow, that looks simply delicious!! I think I’ll be making this… soon!! Yum!
I am also fortunate to have a source for locally caught salmon this time of year… from my uncle. I keep hoping my husband would take up the hobby so I could really get a great stash going in the freezer. 🙂
I made this lovely & fabulously dish for a dinner party & all of my guests loved it so much! So a big bravo for you!!! Thanks again!!! It was rated 10 out of 10!!!!:)