• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 7s

Harvesting Alaska: Smoked salmon, versatile and better than candy

By Megan Edge 4:57 PM July 12, 2016

I start to feel like Bubba from “Forrest Gump” when I talk to people about all of the ways we prepare those fresh, Kenai River sockeye salmon stuffing the chest freezer in my little Spenard home.

There’s baked salmon, grilled salmon, sweet and spicy salmon, salty and sweet salmon, jalapeño and parmesan salmon, salmon sweet potato patties, salmon tacos, salmon and eggs, salmon chowder, salmon bisque, salmon pot pie, salmon salad, salmon spread — and well, you get it.

Although I very much enjoy all of the above-mentioned ways a raw fillet can be used, I actually enjoy working with smoked salmon more. Maybe this is an Alaskan thing, but I think it tastes better than candy. The mere thought of a toasted bagel, with a cream cheese spread, topped with shredded bits of smoked salmon actually makes my mouth water.

I use to joke that I could live off it. Then once — I almost did.

I covered my first Iditarod this year. For however long it takes the top mushers to reach Nome, reporters must move their gear from one remote checkpoint to another almost daily. For that reason, you don’t want to overpack but you also don’t want to leave the things you need behind — like food.

In an effort to save space while being prepared for the unexpected, I packed packages and packages of smoked Alaska salmon. Some of the larger stops, like McGrath, have restaurants and others, like Skwentna, have massive community meals. Others don’t have anything at all. You have to be able to feed yourself and be prepared to face the elements anywhere along the trail.

So, I packed my survival salmon. It was effortlessly preserved and full of the nutrition a body needs to operate with very little sleep in the unforgiving climate of the Last Frontier.

I found myself sharing it — like friendship currency — with my colleagues, local kids and even hungry mushers who’d been sitting near me and smelled the potent, smoky aroma. Share a piece of smoked salmon with someone and they’ll forever greet you with a smile and friendly conversation.

But, like I said, it’s versatile. I may have been eating the plain tender pieces of meat on the trail, but when I’m at home it gets used in just about everything.

For the smoking process, I stick to simpler recipes. I’ve chowed down on salmon that’s been smoked a variety of ways, but the simpler the smoking style, the easier you can work it into other recipes. More complex brines and techniques can leave overpowering flavors in salads or soups.

[GET THE RECIPE — Smoked Salmon]

My salmon chowder is a personal point of pride. I learned from the most basic chowder recipe and created what I now call my aurora chowder — simply for the vibrant-colored ingredients that dance around the bowl. Serve it with warm, buttery rolls and you’re friends and family may actually never leave.

[GET THE RECIPE — Aurora Smoked Salmon Chowder]

Harvesting Alaska is an ongoing series exploring all the ways Alaskans live off the land. KTVA welcomes you to share your recipes by sending them to web@ktva.com and by using #myharvestAK on social media. Your recipe may be featured in an upcoming Harvesting Alaska.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor, dies

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 22:25

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor beloved by Alaskans and tourists alike, has died at the age of 20 according to the animal’s owners. Stubbs’ death was announced late Saturday in a statement from the Spone family, which purchased Nagley’s General Store and the West Rib Pub and Grill in 2015. Part of the contract, the […]

  • New White House communications director deletes old tweets contradicting Trump

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 19:55

    A day after accepting a top White House job, President Trump’s new communications director announced Saturday that he’s deleting old tweets that were critical of his new boss, saying his own views have evolved and that what he said in the past shouldn’t be a distraction. Full transparency: I'm deleting old tweets. Past views evolved […]

  • News

    Car-motorcycle crash hurts 2, closes Old Seward Highway south of Dowling Road

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 19:05

    The Old Seward Highway was closed Saturday night south of Dowling Road in both directions by a car-motorcycle collision that injured two people. Alaska road-conditions website 511.alaska.gov first mentioned the wreck at Old Seward near 69th Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Anchorage police Sgt. Dawn Neer, at the scene, said a motorcycle had been headed […]

  • News

    Efforts continue to save Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theatre

    by Dave Leval on Jul 22, 17:38

    There’s no denying Sandy Harper loves the 4th Avenue Theatre. “The theater has been here longer than I have,” said Harper, who has called Anchorage home for 30 years. The building has been part of the downtown Anchorage skyline for more than twice that, a span of 70 years. “I don’t think there’s anything like […]

  • Dozens hospitalized for excessive drinking at Chance The Rapper concert

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 17:28

    HARTFORD, Conn. — More than 90 people were hospitalized Friday during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper in Connecticut, officials said. A large number of people hospitalized were underage attendees experiencing “severe intoxication,” Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday. Foley said officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7′s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. […]

  • News

    Coast Guard: Kodiak missile test could occur as early as next week

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 14:15

    KODIAK, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard says a launch from the Kodiak Island rocket launch complex in Alaska will occur as soon as next week. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports a U.S. Coast Guard notice released Wednesday states the launch is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on […]

  • Son charged in death of father whose body was left on couch for weeks

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 14:12

    FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks. Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the […]

  • News

    Search suspended for man overboard from skiff in Prince William Sound

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 13:21

    The U.S. Coast Guard spent much of Friday looking for a man who fell overboard from a skiff on the west side of Prince William Sound, but was unable to locate any sign of him. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said that the man went overboard at about 2 a.m. Friday from a commercial […]