Savoring the Mighty Salmon!
“The foundation of this place, the glue that holds it together, is its salmon.”
The word of the day is, Terroir, (pronounced ter woir). No, it does not mean little barking dogs that loves to kill rats, it actually means, loosely translated, “a sense of place.” It was originally a French term in regards to wine that suggests that the flavor of the grapes embodies the local environment that they were grown. I know of a wine connoisseur that can taste a wine, blindfolded, and tell you not only what kind of wine but from where, and he says it is all about the terroir. This term has been adopted into the food world and is all the rage.
The concept of terrior in regards to food is much the same. It speaks of the region flavoring the food. Simply put, it means the taste of a place. I mulled this around in my mouth and thought salmon has got to be the best example of terroir in our area. If you think about it, salmon has been eaten in this region, basically the same way, for thousands of years. And not only do they feed us, but they also feed the land. The trees depend on the nitrogen from their decomposing bodies and around 130 of other species feed on them as well. The returning salmon feed us all and have done it for thousand of years. Now that is terroir.
Preserving this mighty part of our culture has become paramount. Some things we can all do to help is stop using all pesticides and herbicides on our lawns and gardens, plant more trees to prevent erosion, and help rebuild salmon habitat. This is particularly important for us since we all live so close to the waters the salmon inhabit. For a passionate salmon consumer, I also encourage folks to eat salmon responsibly by buying only wild caught and eating it as a delicacy. Let’s not get greedy, that’s what got us in this mess.
One of my all time favorite ways to eat salmon so that a little bit goes a long way, is smoked salmon. Ahhhh, said with reverence. I recommend you get your smoked salmon from “Carla’s Smokehouse.” Carla is the ABOSULTE master of smoking fish and only buys wild salmon for her mouth watering recipes. I am tickled to announce that you can find her at our Farmer’s Market. This recipe is a fantastic soup base for any seafood
Smoked Salmon Chowder
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 32 ounce container of low sodium chicken broth
3-4 large fingerling potatoes, diced into large chunks
1 cup of chopped celery
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
2 teaspoons of dried dill or 1 tablespoon of fresh dill
2 cups of 1 % milk
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
3-4 ears of fresh corn kernels
8-12 ounces of smoked salmon, shredded and de-boned
Salt and pepper to taste
Use your favorite large pot for the honored receptacle. Sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat in the olive oil in it for about 5 minutes till fragrant. Pour the container of chicken broth in and add the potatoes, celery and herbs. Stir now and again till it begins to merrily boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently till the potatoes are just about done. Add the corn kernels to the mix, and simmer a few more minutes. Mix the cornstarch into the milk till it is all friendly, then add it to the soup. Stir the pot well to make sure the milk mixture is well integrated, then stir often till it begins to thicken. Here is the magic moment to add the salmon. Blend everything together and let it simmer for a few more moments, then taste. (The smoked salmon has a lot of salt in it so you want to wait till that flavor has swam through the soup before you salt it.) Add your salt and pepper to taste, and serve it up in your best bowls with a fresh salad and bread. Savor this great fish and do your part to help keep it nourishing our community.