The Sacramento Salmon Swap: South from Alaska


So, here’s the deal: Ashley Paul said I could have some of the salmon that her fiancé caught in Alaska in exchange for a blog posting about the resulting dish. Consider it done!

Especially since my family just got back from an Alaskan vacation ourselves in August, where we enjoyed the abundance of wild salmon that’s on just about every menu in the 49th state this time of year.

We learned from a tour guide the way to remember the five kinds of salmon is by looking at your fingers: thumb for “chum”; forefinger for “sockeye” (like, sticking a finger in the eye); middle finger is “king”; ring finger is “silver”; and pinkie, of course, for “pink.”

Our guide said he caught a 60-pound king salmon the day after the $10,000 first-prize Ketchikan fish derby, won by a 10-year-old kid who landed a 45-pound king. Well, life’s all about timing. The guide took us to a river inlet where the salmon were leaping out of the water while bald eagles perched in a nearby tree.

Since Ashley’s guy caught the fish in Sea Otter Sound near Ketchikan, we pulled out the cookbook from our Princess Cruise called “Courses: A Culinary Journey,” which my wife and daughter purchased as part of their galley tour of the Diamond Princess, to find an appropriate recipe.

The book has one for Ketchikan Silver Salmon. Perfect.

One afternoon, we cooked the fish on the charcoal grill. The fish preparation was pretty basic, as were the sides of red bliss mashed potatoes and cucumber salad. The standout element was the corn sauce, which was delicious. Here’s the recipe:

Ketchikan Silver Salmon

Silver salmon
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups vermouth
Juice from 1 lemon
1 ¼ cups fresh corn
1 ½ cups fish stock
2 cups heavy cream (we used milk and butter)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Salt and white pepper

Combine the onion, garlic and vermouth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has almost formed a syrup. Add the lemon juice and fresh corn and sauté for 4 minutes. And the fish stock and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half again until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Add the fresh dill and adjust the seasoning.

For the salmon, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice. Grill for 8-10 minutes, rotating one or two times. Serve with the sauce.

Serves 6

Yum! Delicious. My wife KC served it on the table runner that she bought on our first cruise stop in Skagway. 

If you ever get the chance, we highly recommend an Alaska visit. Princess Cruises has an excursion that takes you by train to Denali National Park, where we were fortunate to get a view of 20,000-foot Mt. McKinley. Spectacular.

But even for the less adventurous, the cruise alone from Whittier (near Anchorage) to Vancouver has tremendous views of glaciers, mountain peaks and, if you’re lucky like us, orcas.

Thanks again for the salmon, Ashley!

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Brittany | Sep 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Your Alaska photos are beautiful! Oh and the salmon looks good too. 😉

  • Ashley Paul | Oct 1, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I’m so glad the salmon was put to such good use. It looks delicious!