Copper River King
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 – 3 tsp brown sugar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh basil
Put the blueberries, garlic and onion in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until berries have popped and onions are getting tender. Add the sugar to taste. Add balsamic and lemon juice until the sauce is thin but not runny. Check the taste again to see if you need a bit more sugar but the sauce should be a bit tart – more on the balsamic side than on the sweet side.
You can either tear up the basil and mix it into the sauce at this point or, what I prefer to do, is tear the basil into medium sized pieces and place it on top of the salmon – it should sort of stick to the surface. Then paint the salmon with the sauce.
Place on a hot grill over medium high heat. The thickness of the salmon and the size of the pieces will determine your cooking time. As soon as you see the "white stuff" (it’s actually called albumin protein*) coming to the top surface remove the fish from the heat. It should still look a little uncooked in the center if you cut it open immediately.
* Many years ago at a cooking class I took from Tom Douglas he taught this little trick for knowing when the salmon is done. I’ve seen lots of people (on the Internet) looking for ways to keep the protein from forming but as long as you take the salmon off right away, it doesn’t look bad and it’s a perfect way to tell when it’s done!
You can serve whatever your heart desires with the fish – a perfect vegetable at this time of year is asparagus. If you are looking for a good wine, one of my favorite combinations is a big Pinot Noir. There something about the Pinot/Salmon combination that I think is perfect. And it’s especially good with this blueberry sauce as Pinot often has a strong berry or cherry flavor. There are lots of good options but I opened a bottle of Domaine Serene for my dinner. It’s a bit on the spendy side but when you are paying $28/pound for the fish, who’s really counting?
I had some salmon leftover and the following day I used it to make a scrumptious version of a fish taco. I grilled some Walla Walla Sweet onions (tossing them with a little olive oil and fresh thyme). Once they were caramelized I warmed the fish just a little. Then I heated a flour tortilla on the grill, smeared a little of the leftover blueberry sauce on it, added the onions and fish and wrapped it up for a quick lunch. If I’d had some cabbage on hand I might have shredded a bit of that to include, too!
If you want to check out this salmon, don’t dally! Copper River season only lasts a few weeks with the King season shutting down earlier than the Sockeye.