Food and Drink

10 salmon recipes you can make right now, plus fillet and grill basics

Newsletter #57: Sofishticated

For fun I did a little search though the Anchorage Daily News and Anchorage Times archives to see when recipe writers on “the women’s page,” which is where newspaper recipes used to go, started to write about putting salmon on the grill. Doesn’t it seem like grilled salmon is what summer here tastes like?

Turns out, it wasn’t always that way. Grilled salmon recipes appear way later than you’d expect, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Before that, most all of the recipes were written for canned salmon (so much salmon loaf, also known as “sloaf!”). I imagine canned salmon was much more commonly available year-round and that getting fresh salmon to market was tricky.

A quick search on the history of backyard grilling charts its rise in popularity after World War II. Anchorage classifieds start advertising homes for sale and for rent with built-in barbecues in the postwar period. Then come my parents, who grew up in Anchorage and remember eating salmon on the grill all their lives. Though they said that they ate fresh when someone caught it but don’t remember buying it at the grocery store.

Anyway, there’s more research to do. If you are reading this and can fill in the details about when fresh salmon became widely available at the grocery counter in Anchorage, please write me.

This week, we’re all up to our eyeballs in fish (well, relative to last year), so here are 10 recipes you can make right now.


1) Sugar crusted salmon with mango-peach salsa.

2) Soy and brown butter roasted salmon.

3) Salmon lettuce wraps.

4) Blueberry cured lox.

5) Smoked salmon quiche.

6) Hong Kong spicy salmon.

7) Salmon with birch syrup glaze.

8) Salmon Wellington.

9) Smoked salmon pasta with garlic cream sauce.

10) Kale Caesar with salmon and avocado.

If you still can’t get enough, here’s a guide to filleting, grilling and more recipes. And a recipe for basic salmon dip, which we all need, but, let’s admit it, doesn’t photograph well.

In other food news, vegetables in the fields are maturing early and Steve Edwards has everything you need to know about where to get what. And, Mara Severin managed to get a table at Muse at the Anchorage Museum and tried Chef Laura Cole’s cooking. Here’s her review.

Here’s hoping you feel the tug of a salmon in your dipnet this weekend.

Julia O'Malley

Anchorage-based Julia O'Malley is a former ADN reporter, columnist and editor. She received a James Beard national food writing award in 2018, and a collection of her work, "The Whale and the Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska," was published in 2019. She's currently writer in residence at the Anchorage Museum.