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Thursday, October 4, 2018

A difficult wild salmon season has ended, but I can still taste that incredible Sockeye

In early July, I bought a beautiful fillet of fresh, wild Sockeye Salmon from Whole Foods Market in Paramus for the Prime Member price of $13.99 a pound, grilled serving portions on the stovetop and made breakfast sandwiches with leftovers straight from the fridge, below.
My wild Sockeye Salmon sandwich used ends from Dave's Killer Bread, an organic loaf from Costco Wholesale in Teterboro, usually with Dijon mustard, organic spring mix and tomato, but I also used pesto, reduced-fat Swiss cheese and silken slices of smoked, wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, also from Costco.


HACKENSACK, N.J. -- There is nothing in the wide world of fish that looks or tastes as good as fresh, wild-caught Sockeye Salmon.

This past summer, I enjoyed this wonderful, heart-healthy fish -- called Red Salmon in Alaska -- grilled on my stovetop or baked in the oven, and for the first time, sliced raw in a sushi restaurant.

But the 2018 salmon harvest in Alaska fell short of the preseason forecast of 147 million fish by about 31%, state officials said in late August.

I don't know for sure, but is that why I never saw any skin-on sockeye from the famed Copper River, usually the first fillets to go on sale at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro in early June?

All of the wild Sockeye and Coho Salmon I saw at Costco through last week was labeled "Wild Caught Product of USA" and none specified "Alaska."

I did find Sockeye Salmon from Alaska at Whole Foods Market, but the Paramus supermarket sold Copper River fillets for as much as $39.99 a pound.

"The three largest Alaska commercial salmon harvest on record occurred between 2013 and 2017; looking back to the mid-1970s, harvests between 100 [million] and 150 million fish, like 2018, are far more common...," the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said on Aug. 23.

In Western Alaska, state officials said, Bristol Bay "experienced the second-largest Sockeye Salmon harvest on record (nearly 42 million fish), and the fourth consecutive season with a harvest exceeding 35 million Sockeye Salmon."

I've grilled serving portions of fresh, wild Sockeye Salmon on the stovetop, and served them with grilled Romaine lettuce and grilled ripe peaches. I've also spooned on warm red salsa from Costco Wholesale, adding fresh lemon juice and fresh mint leaves from my garden, above and below.

In July, August and September, Costco's Teterboro warehouse was selling fillets of fresh, wild Sockeye Salmon for $9.99 a pound -- only a dollar more per pound than artificially colored but antibiotic-free farmed Atlantic Salmon from Norway.
My stovetop grill straddles two burners, and I grilled Sockeye Salmon on both sides for a total of 7 minutes to 8 minutes.
During our August vacation in Alaska, I ordered fresh Sockeye Salmon served over pesto at Simon & Seafort's, a fine-dining restaurant and my pick for the best seafood in Anchorage.
In Whittier, Alaska, we ordered takeout from the Wild Catch Cafe, and I ate this juicy Wild Salmon Sandwich and a baby spinach salad on the Glacier Discovery Train back to Anchorage. 
The first time I enjoyed melt-in-the mouth raw Sockeye Salmon was on the last day of our vacation in Alaska at Arctic Sushi, a restaurant in downtown Anchorage, above and below.
Wild Sockeye Salmon has it all: Color and flavor.

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