Copper River Sockeye Salmon and Going for the Win

A waiter recommended Copper River Salmon to me  two years ago this month and I still haven’t forgotten the experience. There is an incredible richness to the flesh that makes this particular salmon completely different from all others. For those of you that may not know about it, this special salmon comes from the Copper River in Alaska and is only available for a few short months. They must travel 300 miles to spawn, which requires extra storage of omega-3 fatty acids for the journey. If you haven’t tried it, you really must.

We drove by Whole Foods and they had a big “Copper River Salmon is here!” sign out front. Marc and I were excited because we had honestly never thought to seek it out on our own. Duh. Then, Jen at Tiny Urban Kitchen blogged about a simple grilled preparation and it was on. If you do not have a grill, use your favorite method for cooking salmon. I’ve also included a link to an oven roasting method in the recipe.

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Recipe: Grilled Copper River Salmon

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Serves 2-3

1 lb. of Copper River Salmon (or regular salmon)

oil for grill grate

salt and freshly ground pepper

1. If using a charcoal grill, light charcoal in a chimney starter until covered in thin gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Spread coals in a single layer to make a medium-hot fire. The fire is perfect if you hold your hand outstretched above the coals for 5 seconds before it is too hot. Place grate over the charcoal and using a wad of paper towel dipped in oil, rub over the grate to grease. (Feel free to use a gas grill and cook over medium-high heat or oven roast.)

2. When the grill is ready, generously sprinkle the salmon with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the salmon skin-side down on the grill. Grill until the skin shrinks and separates from the flesh or 2 1/2 minutes (if your salmon is more than 1 1/2 inches thick, grill for 3 minutes).

3. Flip salmon gently with long-handled tongs or a spatula. Grill until salmon is opaque, yet translucent at the very center, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (3-4 minutes if salmon is thick).

4. Cut into 2-3 pieces and serve.

5 Notes Leave a Note

    • Rebecca – I am sorry to rub salt in the wound! This was our first grilled fish experience, because I’ve been a little afraid of having a flaky fish disaster.

    • Katie – Oh, Katie! I remember the poor college years, well. We still had a hard time coughing up the $19.99/pound, but it’s truly worth it. Any special occasions coming up to justify the purchase? :)

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