It was last year at around this time that former ADN food columnist Maya Wilson and I got to play in the kitchen with some exceptional Copper River salmon. We came up with everything from pan-roasted fillets with radishes and salsa verde to patties and fritters.
With salmon season here, I was reminded of this salmon stack recipe that we both love. The beauty of it is that you can easily accommodate a variety of tastes. Try an array of colors and textures: think creamy avocado, crisp cucumber, sweet Asian pear, etc. You can then stack them before serving or set out all the ingredients and let everyone make their own.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
One (1- to 1 1/2-pound) fillet wild salmon, preferably sockeye or king
1 pound fresh mung bean sprouts
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 limes, divided
2 cups peeled and diced cucumber (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced Asian pear (1 large) or kiwi or papaya or mango
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and diced
Garnishes: Extra-virgin olive oil; finishing salt such as Alaska flake salt; toasted sesame seeds; green onion and jalapeño, thinly sliced; lime wedges
1. Remove and discard any skin and pin bones from salmon; cut fillet into ½-inch cubes; store in refrigerator until ready to use. If desired, squeeze the juice of one lemon or lime and toss with the salmon — the vibrant color will change but the acid will “cook” the salmon — while preparing the other ingredients.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add fresh bean sprouts and blanch 1 to 2 minutes; remove to a bowl of ice water or run under cold water. Drain thoroughly, wrap in paper towels or spin bean sprouts in a salad spinner to remove all excess moisture. Place prepared sprouts in a bowl and toss with one minced garlic clove, 1/2 of the green onions and season with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. Place olive oil (or sesame oil) in a small bowl and stir in fresh grated ginger, juice of one lime (cut other lime in wedges for serving); set aside.
3. If assembling all at once, place 4 to 6 (3- to 4-inch) wide cutters (cookie cutters or food ring molds) in center of 4 to 6 serving plates. Gather all your ingredients. Divide the salmon in half; divide one half evenly among the cutters and gently press down to form an even layer. Add a layer of cucumber, a layer of pear, and avocado, pressing down gently after each layer. Add another layer of salmon and bean sprouts and any other ingredients you like. Carefully remove the cutters or food ring molds. Drizzle stacks with the ginger-lime oil. Garnish, if desired, with salt, olive oil, sesame seeds, green onion, jalapeño and lime wedges. Serve at once.