To me spring means fresh seafood. Spring brings some of the best and freshest seafood and there are plenty of purveyors that want to sell it to you. Sometimes you have to do a lot of research to find the freshest products. I like the challange of finding the right company, the right fisherman and the best way to get it to your door as soon as it
is caught. I love knowing that when I wake up in the morning and go to work I will find a box with some of the freshest seafood.
The other day I got a call from Meteka from http://www.inlandseafood.com/. She informed me that in a couple of days she would be able to get her hands on some ivory king salmon from Alaska. Ivory king salmon (Chinook salmon) are very rare and only make up 5-8% of the king salmon population.
What makes ivory king salmon white is the lack of pigmant called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is found in various levels in most seafood. This is what makes lobsters red and shrimp pink. Some king salmon can not absorb astaxanthin leaving their flesh a ivory shade.
When I think of ivory king salmon I think of planking. The Pacific Northwest has long been famous for cooking fresh seafood on wood planks and they praise the flavors and aromas imparted by this cookery. This method of cooking infused the natural oils and moisture found in the woods into the seafood producing a unique flavor. This method of cooking has now been used world wide for items such as chicken, vegetables and beef. There are two methods for planking. One being in the oven and the other on your grill. Both methods will work equally well.
Purchase a good plank at any grocery or specialty food store or go down to your local hardware store or specialty wood store and ask for oak or ceder planks that are not treated. The can also cut the plank to your specification.
Below are a couple of the filets of wild ivory king salmon that I fillet this morning. Notice the white ivory color of the flesh as compared to a regular salmon filet.
I sprinkled a little applewood smoked sea salt on top for flavor.
I cut the stems off of the morel mushrooms, sliced them into quaters and then soak them in cold water to remove any dirt.
Thinly slice some shallots.
Very thin sliced fresh garlic
Start a fire on your grill and let it burn down so that it is not too hot, about 200 degrees.
Insure that you soak the planks in water for a couple of hours. Soaking the planks will prevent the boards from burning and catching on fire. Place the salmon on the boards and then on the fire and close the lid. As you can see I planked these salnon in a wood grill and covered the top with pans to prevent the smoke from escaping. The cooking time will depend on the heat from your fire. Try to keep the salmon moist and do not cook too long, maybe 10-15 minutes.
When the salmon are done they should be caramelized on top.
Saute the sliced garlic and shallots in olive oil until golden and crisp. Add the morels , the baby spinach and cook until the spincach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and place in the middle of the plate, top with the planked salmon.
Drizzle a little lemon extra virgin olive oil over the top and serve!