In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Smoked salmon souffle

We're so lucky to be able to eat wild-caught salmon on a regular basis in Alaska. It's healthy, delicious, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Still, Alaskans (or at least their kids "Salmon again!?!?") can get tired of eating salmon, so it's good to have a variety of recipes at hand.

Alaskans simply go crazy every the summer! A family is allowed to catch up to 30 or so fish by net, and therefore most everybody we know has got a freezer full. Somewhere along the line they get tired of eating salmon over the winter, but come June, fishing fever is back and they're dashing out to fill that freezer when dip-netting season opens.

So the non-fishermen among us (like us) sometimes receive free salmon when their friends are cleaning out their freezers before summer. Plus, I admit (don't tell the neighbors), I do go and buy sockeye salmon when it goes on sale in the grocery store -- I buy a whole fish or 2 at a time, and then brine and smoke a fair bit of it. (You can smoke previously frozen fillets too!)

My brine is simple: it consists of equal amounts of sugar and salt (1/2 c each plus 1 quart of water) -- you can add spices, but I like to keep it simple, and add variety later when I cook. Depending on the thickness of the fillets, I will brine it for 4-6 hours or overnight. I rinse the fish, pat it dry with papertowels, and let it sit for a little while to develop a "skin" -- then it goes into my electric smoker "Little Chief" with alder woodchips. A couple of hours of smoking, changing pans 2 or 3 times, and voila, we got our own smoked salmon. I do vacuum-pack it and stick it in the freezer -- but it's fine to take on a camping trip, or in a suitcase to Germany!

We use smoked salmon on bagels, in omelettes, in dips, corn chowder, with pasta -- the possibilities are endless. But here is my family's favorite, which I think is easy to make -- but do allow enough time to bake, and then everybody needs to be ready to eat while souffle is still hot and nicely puffed up!

Smoked Salmon Souffle
butter (3-4T?)
flour (3T+?)
milk (1/2 c-1c)
grated cheese (parmesan or other hard cheese) (1/2-1c)
smoked salmon, crumbled (can also use leftover salmon, or canned -- will need to add salt)
eggs, separated (3-4)
breadcrumbs (optional)

For a recipe with measurements in metric, see Tastes-of-France here.

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Make a white Bechamel sauce, whisking flour into melted butter, then adding milk while continuing to whisk sauce. Add grated cheese and the egg yolks. Let sauce cool a bit, then let it cool down. Meanwhile, whip to eggwhites.
Prepare souffle dish by greasing and sprinkling w/ breadcrumbs or parmesan cheese.
Crumble the salmon into the sauce, gently fold eggwhites into sauce.
Pour into prepared dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, cheese or paprika as desired.
Bake for about an hour (no unnecessary peeking) -- test center with knife.

LOTS of other ways to cook salmon
BBQ it --try a soy-ginger marinade
Bake it -- place in aluminum foil envelope with dill, salt, pepper and lemon
Soups -- try adding it to a corn chowder
Use leftovers to make Salmon patties (or salmon burgers)

let your imagination run wild -- you can eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner! Then after a while you too will be wanting to give it away too -- and I'll be ready to take it off your hands!

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