For years, he made regular trips out to Seattle in the late spring to meet with one of his major sales accounts. And every time he visited, he'd bring me something delicious from the market. Sometimes he'd bring me a bag of freshly roasted coffee. More often he'd bring me fragrant spice blends from World Spice Merchants. And in the late spring, he'd bring me my absolute favorite thing: fresh Copper River Salmon.
The first time he brought salmon home, he surprised me. He'd purchased a whole Alaskan Sockeye from the market, had it packed in dry ice, and smuggled it onto the plane in lieu of his usual carry-on. At the time, I wasn't yet the salmon devotee that I am today. But, I knew from my first glance at that fish, that there was no turning back.
In the days following his return flight, we ate as much salmon as we could -- relishing the filets grilled, roasted, and pan-fried (encased with thin slices of potato and served alongside wasabi mashed potatoes). When we'd had our fill of the freshest fish I'd ever eaten in my life, I researched the best ways to package the remainders for freezing. Once the portioned filets were neatly packed away in our chest freezer, I constructed the best salmon "burgers" EVER from the leftover bits and pieces.
I thought there couldn't be anything better than fresh sockeye salmon. Until he brought me an Alaskan Copper River the next year... and, well, you get how the obsession started.
Unfortunately, Peef has moved on from the job that required his quarterly trips to Seattle. It's been at least two years since I've tasted salmon half as fresh, though the memory of that clean flavor still haunts me.
These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find me buying salmon from the local supermarket (or even the more upscale meat/fish counters), though I do make exception for wild salmon in the off-season that has been painstakingly frozen and stored -- fish that retains at least some apparition of its former glory.
Which brings me to the dish I'm about to present to you. It's fabulously easy. And deliciously picante. And it's the perfect solution for a rainy spring evening when you can't get outside to enjoy the deliciously smoky flavor that only the grill can impart.
Chile Roasted Salmon
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