Growing up on Vancouver Island, on the West Coast of Canada, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have access to amazing seafood. It just did not mean that much to me, as I had “better” things to do with my time – sports, girls, sleep, hanging with buddies (not necessarily in that order). Now 25 years later I wish I would have paid a little more attention to the trips to Goldstream park in the Fall with my Dad to watch the spawning salmon. I was content being with my dad and really did not care so much about the amazing spectacle that was happening right in front of my eyes; of course hind sight is 20/20. Even though my dad explained the process of spawning salmon to me over and over, I didn’t really understand nor did I really care about this wonder of nature. Goldstream Park is home to Chum, and in some years Coho, Chinook and Spring Salmon.
Salmon has had many problems over the years and most a result of human mistakes. For many years, the salmon population suffered due to bad fish farm practices on Northwest Vancouver Island (Campbell River). The young wild fish (Fry) had to swim through the fish farm areas as they headed back to sea; during which they were infected by sea lice which killed vast numbers of the young fish. Today, these practices are guided by stricter regulations and there has been a concerted effort to save the salmon population. I hope it’s not too late.
As a chef, the Sockeye Salmon season (about four months in late spring to early summer) is a special time because this fish reminds me of “home”. I am a big fan of Sockeye, because it is the most flavorful and flexible of all the salmon. The texture of Sockeye Salmon makes it perfect for grilling and smoking. I just had to use my new BBQ for this salmon recipe challenge, but you can easily create this recipe in your oven. What makes this recipe so tasty and easy is that all the ingredients are cooked together and the flavors are trapped inside the package that you create. There are so many flavor combinations you can create with this dish, so be creative! Hopefully this recipe will trigger you to discover and create delicious new dishes.
Next up on my reading list is a book that deals with the depletion of our wild fish stocks, Four Fish by Paul Greenberg. This link leads to a review of this book.