Seasonal Wild Salmon: Smart Storage
Throughout the country, supermarkets are now selling wild-caught Alaskan salmon, especially the kind from Copper River. It’s a beautiful fish, with a meaty texture that’s full of good-for-you oils. The season for this fish, though, is short—mid-May to mid-June for the fresh catch. By law, fishmongers must have a sign in the window of their cases noting if their fish is fresh or has been previously frozen. If you buy your salmon fresh, be sure to keep it in the coldest part of the fridge for no more than two days before cooking it.
I like to stock up on this favorite. After I’ve fed the whole family, I freeze some of the salmon at its peak of freshness, when the price is at its lowest. Fish that is rich in fat freezes well, but it is important to seal it tightly so as not to lose moisture. Vacuum-sealing the salmon in usable portions is the easy way to go. If you don’t have a machine to vacuum-seal, use a plastic freezer bag and suck the air out with a straw. No kidding, it works! Wrapping fresh fish in freezer paper, then putting the package in a plastic bag, works well too. (There is also a rather involved method of freezing and ice water-glazing the fish, but the process is too time consuming for me.) When you want to use the fish, thaw it in the fridge and use it within a day. Frozen, thawed fish should never be refrozen.
Of course fresh or frozen, it’s a shame to overcook this fish. My favorite way to cook fine fresh salmon is with high heat. Just rub the fillet with olive oil and season it well with salt and pepper. Pop it into a 500°F oven, uncovered, and bake for about 8 minutes per inch of thickness, measuring at the thickest part of the fillet. Let it rest 5 minutes after removing from the oven. And enjoy the feast.
Take it outside with a great recipe for grilled salmon!