In case you aren’t already in the know, my fierce farm-to-table friend and fellow Food Network Star Emma Frisch writes a fabulous food blog called Frisch Kitchen. Emma’s blog focuses on what she calls “food with roots,” and recently she started a brilliant campaign called #5days5ways, where she highlights one ingredient over 5 days and shows 5 unique ways to use it.
Last week, Emma rolled out #5days5ways for Bristol Bay wild sockeye salmon in order to draw attention to the current problems they are facing in the bay. She asked ME if I wanted to participate by submitting a recipe and doing a cross post on Frisch Kitchen.
Does the Pope wear a funny hat?! OF COURSE I want in on this!
You might be wondering why would this Jersey girl would be so concerned with something happening all the way in Alaska?
Well, as your Star De La Mar and the self-appointed ambassador for Coastal Cuisine, I feel it’s my duty to spread the gospel about sustainability in the sea.
Years ago, we took what we pleased from the ocean without a care in the world. After all, it’s huge! And we assumed its bounty would last forever. But as time went on, the overfishing of certain species and destructive fishing methods lead to the massive exploitation and damage of our ocean’s ecosystem.
Yikes! So… now what?
Well, the damage has been done. But that doesn’t mean we need to avoid seafood all together forever. No way! You see, supporting sustainable seafood really comes down to just making educated, responsible choices. Oftentimes it’s not the fish itself that matters, but where in fact it came from.
There are plenty of folks out there still catching fish in less than environmentally friendly ways. But luckily, more and more fisheries are adapting to do it the right way in order to keep our ocean producing for generations to come. The Monterey Bay Aquarium puts out a yearly sustainable seafood guide so you can always keep track of the best choices to make.
Sustainable seafood is sourced in a way that minimizes environmental impact and preserves coastal ecosystems. The fishermen over in Bristol Bay, Alaska, have been doing it right for centuries. But, the impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine would be incredibly damaging to not only the salmon population, but to the local economy and the bellies it feeds.
As an east coast girl who lives off of seafood from my own back yard, getting to enjoy the rich, flavorful meat of Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon is a real seasonal treat. We’re reaching the tail end of wild salmon season, but luckily it’s available frozen at an astonishingly high quality so we can enjoy it all year long.
The health and vitality of our ocean has a massive effect on our environment as a whole. That’s why it’s so important to stay informed about the problems that face our food system and to make educated choices. Ignorance rarely equates to actual bliss.
The recipe I created for this cause was inspired by a dish I made on the very first episode Food Network Star when Emma and I met for the very first time. It’s crazy to think it hasn’t even been a year, but that’s usually the way it goes when kindred spirits collide.
On Food Network Star, I made this as an appetizer with ahi tuna. But the rich, meaty flesh of this wild Sockeye salmon stands up perfectly to the bold flavors of soy and sesame.
Be sure to head over to Frisch Kitchen and take a peek at the other incredible recipes submitted by top chefs around the country. I’m especially intrigued by Rob Kinneen’s Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Soup and Tom Douglas’ Sockeye Salmon Gravlax with Chive Cream Cheese and Rye Toasts. Which recipes are you going to try first?!
Learn more about how YOU can help protect Bristol Bay by clicking here.
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup sesame seeds (black and white mixed)
- 4 Sockeye Salmon Filets (6-8oz each), skin removed 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced on a bias
- Combine the first three ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid reduces by half and becomes syrupy. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Pour the sesame seeds onto a large plate or pan. Pat the salmon dry and sea- son with salt. Take one salmon filet at a time, and spread each side with about a tablespoon of mustard. Then press it into the sesame seeds to evenly coat each side. Set aside and repeat with the remaining fish.
- Heat the oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, about medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering and hot, carefully place each filet in the pan. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan, so if it doesn’t look like they will all comfortably fit, do it in batches. Cook for about 2 minutes, then carefully flip it over to the other side. Cook for one more minute (two if you prefer it well done) and remove from the pan.
- Drizzle with the sweet soy glaze and sprinkle with scallions. Serve with steamed baby bok choy and rice if desired.
- * Soy glaze will make more than needed. Store any extra glaze in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.