This isn’t a foodie blog. It’s a humor blog, but lately it’s been a mix of foodie and humor. (Isn’t “foodie” sort of an annoying word?) I have been Top Cheffing all over the internet lately, I know. The show will end in just a few weeks. On the show Wednesday night (you are watching it, right??), they cooked salmon. This would not be as interesting to me if my cousin was not a salmon fisherman in Alaska. During our conversation this week, he shared things with me about salmon that I didn’t know. I thought maybe some of you would be interested, too, so I decided to write it up.
#1 They smell their way back home. Honestly, I didn’t realize fish could smell. I don’t see a nose. I’m sure they must smell through their gills or something. I’ll Google that one day.
#2 They live in both salt and freshwater areas. That’s crazy, right? So glad sharks aren’t that way or someone would lose a leg every summer during their vacations at the lake.
#3 They decompose their skin to use for energy to fight the current back. Now, that’s just sick. Decompose. Honestly, I wish I had never typed that sentence out.
#4 Less than 1% of the eggs they lay actually survive to reproduce. What? Poor salmon moms! They do all of that work for nothing! I guess if we want to get a little gross and scientific here, human mothers lay “eggs” every month that don’t result in a pregnancy. Not sure what the percentage is, but I’m sure it’s low. (Will you forgive me for bringing up the M word?)
#5 Small salmon are referred to as “fry”. I feel so important knowing that word now. “Yes, I’d like to order your salmon AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SERVING ME ANY FRY!!” The waitress will be very confused and I will have to condescendingly educate her about salmon terms.
#6 Less than .1% (point one!) stray from their original home. They can swim wherever they want in a big, vast ocean and they stick by the same general area at the end of the day. Maybe they watched too much Finding Nemo and got scared to venture off?
#7 They typically travel the equivalent of a marathon each day. Insane. Salmon make me feel lazy. On top of that, they can jump almost 6.5 feet out of the water and…right into a bear’s mouth. Crazy fish.
#8 You can catch all five types of salmon at once, but it’s not likely because they have different timings. Also, there are five types. Before Top Chef this week, I had no clue there were five types of salmon.
#9 Chum salmon are the poorest quality salmon. (The rating is chinook, sockeye, coho, pink and then chum.) Sheldon made his dish using chum salmon this week. Padma informed him that the locals use this type of salmon to feed to the dogs. Being the master chef he is, Sheldon made that chum salmon taste delicious. Of course.
#10 Atlantic salmon is farmed and is NO GOOD. This is according to my cousin, who has access to all the wild salmon he could possibly want. “Atlantic salmon” is the kind of salmon you see in grocery stores. That’s interesting, too, right? I’m not even sure if grocery stores around here carry the fresh, wild salmon.
Because my cousin catches SO MUCH SALMON each year, they eat a lot of it. His wife made me laugh when she replied back with the ways that they look to cook it. She said she was afraid of sounding like Bubba from Forrest Gump:
“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.”
So, I asked him how he makes his salmon. I wanted to know if he made it like the talent at Top Chef makes it. The picture below is “Smoked Salmon, Forbidden Black Rice with English Pea and Parsnip Puree”. (I have never IN MY LIFE made anything with parsnip. I have heard of it. What is it??)
As I suspected, he doesn’t. He said that he LEAVES THE SKIN ON (this is something that I am struggling with) and typically cooks it in foil with brown sugar and onions. Yum! His wife likes to make it with a dill & rosemary seasoning layered over it and then covered with slices of lemon. They have a friend that barbecues it with a sweet chili sauce or grills it smothered in mayonnaise and onions. When I brought up salmon on my Facebook page, a few said they cooked it in foil with brown sugar, so I feel I have no choice but to try it that way.
On the show this week, Sheldon cooked his with a pea soup. There is obviously salmon paired with a pea puree up there, so maybe peas and salmon are good together. They make a good couple. The winner of that challenge, though, was Brooke who made “sockeye salmon and seafood broth with mustard seed caviar and grilled dill sourdough”. I don’t know if I would go as far as the caviar, but I will try her recipe for the poached salmon in the seafood broth. Michael Voltaggio shares her recipe in a video here.