The Kings of Winter

Last week, Hunter and I had one of those conversations that married people sometimes have. You know, the one that has potential erupt in a storm-force argument over the simple question, "Do we have any plans tomorrow? If not, mind if I go fishing?"

I am the guilty party on this one.

On Friday, when Hunter asked me that very question, he was met with too long a pause and what I'm sure he thought was an incredulous glare. No doubt the poor guy wondered if he was forgetting an anniversary or something. In truth, I was scanning the recesses of my mind to recall what fishery was open, what was in the fridge and what I was going to make with the fish that Hunter would inevitably bring home.

Beer battered Cod? Yum. Grilled Salmon? Nah, not until I can remember where Hunter left the barbecue and dig it out of the snow. Pan roasted Halibut? Oh yeah! Blackened Rockfish? Delish!

Luckily for both of us, I caught myself and gave Hunter the nod.  Marital storm averted and my man set off to get himself ready.

There are King Salmon (Chinook, for we Canadians) that overwinter in Kachemak Bay. We call them Winter Kings. These fish tend to be a bit oilier and don't have the signature pink meat associated with your summer-caught salmon. Instead, their meat is cream coloured and tender as can be. A real delicacy.

My plan for Saturday should have been to have sushi rice and friends awaiting Hunter's return. I could have made a real feast of sashimi from the belly of this gorgeous fish and salmon rolls from its back and sides. I'm really kicking myself for not doing that.

What I did instead was take the spinach and mushrooms from the fridge and the left-over puff pastry from the freezer and create individual salmon wellingtons. Yummy! Though sushi would have made a better homage to this perfect fish.

We had salmon chowder the next night, salmon burgers the night after and tonight, to finish it off, we're dining on pasta with spinach, mushroom and salmon. Not too shabby.

We have a few more months of winter king fishing on the horizon. As soon as the ice breaks free from the Homer harbour, you can bet our boat will be one of the first ones launched as Hunter begins another much-anticipated fishing season. 

A Confession
I confess, I gave up on my quest to make sausage from the moose in the freezer. I had grand plans to source organic pork to cut with the moose and mix my own spices from scratch. My awesome new Texan friend, who's an old hat at sausage making, promised to come over and help.

It was the organic pork that did me in. For the life of me, I couldn't find it reasonably in Alaska.  So this morning I, and a bucket of moose, headed down to McNeil Canyon Meats where they are going to turn my moose into breakfast and sweet italian sausage. 

I'm pretty excited to get it back. It might even be worth donning my snowshoes and heading out to the back yard with a long pole and a shovel to find the barbecue! 

Maybe I'll get my new Texan friend to help me make sausage from the bear (the bear!) Hunter's planning on this spring?

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