This post is sponsored by Alaska Seafood. All opinions are my own.
The Power of Wild Alaska Salmon
Wild Alaska salmon are powerful creatures. Born in glacial streams, they swim out to the ocean to feast on plankton and small crustaceans. Once they have grown strong, and their bodies are rich with salmon oils, they follow an internal biological timeline pulling them through ocean tides and swift currents to find their way back to the headwaters where they were born. There, after laying their eggs in river beds, the fish decompose to give nutrients back to the trees and feed the surrounding wildlife of eagles and bears. The natural cycle wild Alaska salmon exist in and the role they play in the ecosystem is extraordinary.
I feel incredibly lucky and honored to be nourished by wild Alaska salmon. Their bright silky meat and rich flavor adds vibrant protein to my plate and strength to my bones. Wild Alaska salmon oil squeaks in my teeth as I happily eat a delicious piece too hot off of the grill, a superfood filling my heart with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. All the energy and effort wild Alaska salmon made fighting the tide and swimming through wild glacial waters becomes flavor and fuel to feed our bodies.
Together, my partner Michael and I are proud to make our livelihood sustainably harvesting wild salmon to nourish and feed people. Working onboard a small gillnet boat, we carefully catch each wild Alaska salmon, handling the ocean’s bounty with gentle respect and gratitude to bring high quality fish to people’s plates. There’s a cycle and a rhythm to the work, chasing the fish that come through with the tide and working within the strictly regulated hours we arepermitted to harvest.
In partnership with Alaska Seafood, I’m excited to create a delicious and nutritious recipe using wild Alaska smoked salmon, and to share how seafood from Alaska is wild-caught and sustainable.
Sustainability at Sea
Careful and sustainable management of Alaska’s wild seafood was woven into the Alaska state constitution more than 60 years ago. Each season, scientists determine the optimal harvest levels for the health of the entire ecosystem. Then, fishing limits are set at or below those levels. For salmon, Alaska’s fishery managers actively analyze the salmon returning to the river systems and vigilantly monitor the repopulation, creating a sustainable cycle that ensures there will be Alaska salmon for future generations. This careful responsible fisheries management process is based on the best available scientific data and involves collaboration across many groups – including the fishing industry, scientists and academics – to study and make a concerted effort to maintain healthy ecosystems and robust fish populations.
As a commercial fisherman, I am dedicated to upholding this incredible standard. Wild salmon are magnificent, respectful stewardship of this valuable resource provides not only my way of life but the abundance of healthy salmon in Alaska.
The bright future of wild Alaska salmon includes all of us. From commercial fishermen dedicated to sustainable management practices, to home cooks and consumers committed to asking for Alaska seafood and choosing to support wild caught. With Alaska, you can be proud of where your seafood comes from. Alaska’s responsible management of its fisheries is a promise to protect wild salmon with sustainable harvesting so we can sustain ourselves with healthy wild Alaska seafood.
Smoked Alaska Salmon Salad with Grilled Spring Vegetables and Tahini Lemon DressingServes 2Ask for wild Alaska salmon at your local grocery store or connect with an Alaska fisherman to bring you fish directly from their boat. Choosing wild Alaska salmon supports hundreds of hardworking small boat fishermen and coastal communities. This recipe is delicious with hot smoked or cold smoked wild salmon. The nutty flavor of tahini blends with citrus to complement the rich, smoky wild salmon. Layered with charred spring vegetables, this salad is simple to bring together.
Ingredients:6-8 ounces Wild Alaska Smoked Salmon (Hot Smoked or Cold Smoked, both are delicious forthis recipe)Salad Greens, a mix of arugula and spinach3 Spring Onions, roots trimmed1 Small Bundle Asparagus (about 1/2 pound)½ Fennel BulbOlive Oil to Drizzle1 clove Garlic, smashed1 Lemon, Zested and Juiced2 Tablespoons Preserved Lemon Chopped¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar¼ c Tahini3 Tablespoons of WaterSea Salt to tasteSesame Seeds to GarnishFresh Cracked PepperInstructions (Serves 2): 1. To whip up the dressing, add the garlic, lemon juice and zest, chopped preserved lemon, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and tahini to a blender and process until creamy and smooth. If dressing is thicker than you’d like, add a tiny bit more water until you reach a blended consistency. Add sea salt to taste.
2. Drizzle spring onions, asparagus, and fennel with olive oil and lightly dust with salt. Over a medium heat grill, add vegetables and grill until lightly charred, golden and tender. Remove from the grill and slice the vegetables diagonally on a cutting board.
3. Add pieces of the smoked salmon to a cast iron skillet for just a minute or two, I love the way a little heat warms the fish and awakens it’s smoky flavors.
4. Add salad greens into your bowls and layer charred vegetables and warmed wild Alaska smoked salmon. Drizzle with the lemon tahini dressing and a shake of sesame seeds.
Finish with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste. Serve and enjoy.