The Pike Place Market is less than 1 mile from my flat. The advantage is that I can access fresh fish pretty easily. The disadvantage is that I’ve never really processed a fish. Before you think I’m trying to stuff a fish in the food processor, let me clear up the thought. Whole fish is sold with its head, tail, and scales in place. Processed fish is sold as portioned fillets, de-scaled and trimmed to size. All you have to do is cut off the sides of the vacuum-packaging and put it into your recipe. A whole fish, I found out, doesn’t come wrapped in plastic with a recipe.
There is something so much more organic and dynamic about staring a fish in the eye and then preparing it for your family for dinner. Sorry to my vegetarian friends. I believe fully in experiencing the foods Earth has offered to us – in moderation and with respect to the balance of nature. Plus, rich wild salmon is a favorite food of mine. From a nutritional perspective, it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. According to Nutritiondata.com (http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4104/2) one 3-oz serving provides about 152 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 g fat, 42 mg cholesterol, and 17 g protein. It’s a very satisfying, rich meat.
In Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, 2001) fish is heralded as “the health food, par excellence.” According to Dr. Weston Price, upon whom Fallon and Enig place much of the foundation of their ideas, “fish eaters had thicker bones and better skeletal structure than groups that ate red meat.” The ADA recommends eating fish for the omega-3 fatty acids and the heart protective qualities this fat seems to offer (http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=5487&terms=salmon). The evidence supporting consuming fish is fairly compelling.
According to Salmonfacts.org (http://www.salmonfacts.org/nutrition.html) ocean farmed salmon has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids than wild-caught. I still have a knee-jerk reaction against farmed salmon, but I am going to continue researching it.
Last summer, Bill Schaub gave us two whole salmon that had recently been caught by fishermen at the mouth of the Duwamish River. These fish had scales, tails, heads, and guts. So, Josh and I decided to make a go at cleaning up the fish. We watched a You Tube video and went at our fish.
We ended up with four misshaped fillets, but it was great fun. I found out if you sprinkle a nice, spicy rub on the fish, you can’t really see the odd shape of the fish. Pile it high with vegetables, and nobody really cares.
Well, on Sunday, we went back to the Pike Place Market and to Jack’s Fish Spot to pick up some fish scraps to make a fish stock for a risotto recipe and a cioppino recipe I want to make in the next few weeks. The advantage in picking up scraps is that the fish mongers typically won’t charge for the scraps, since these are products they toss after filleting the fish anyway. What we got was much more than a bunch of fish bones and heads. Rick, one of the experts at Jack’s Fish Spot, gave us a fish filleting demonstration and let me video it.
The nice thing about regularly visiting one or two businesses is that you develop a relationship with the business and with its staff. They take good care of their customers so that we’ll return and give them a positive recommendation. Very true. When you come to the Pike Place Market to buy fish, visit with Jack’s Fish Spot. Tell them the Schaub’s sent you.
Sweet Smoked Paprika Salmon on Orange-scented Wilted Spinach
2 salmon fillets, thawed
1 tbsp oil, divided
¼ c orange juice
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp sugar
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp orange zest or rind
¼ tsp salt
1) Lightly oil an 8” baking dish. Lay salmon in pan. Drizzle orange juice over top. Sprinkle with paprika, garlic, onion, and sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
2) About 5 minutes before salmon is finished, heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tsp oil and the garlic clove. Quickly add the washed spinach and cover the pan. Remove from heat.
3) Remove salmon from oven and allow to rest a minute.
4) Add orange zest, salt and pepper to spinach. Stir quickly to combine. The spinach should have all wilted but shouldn’t have a stewed appearance.
5) Plate spinach in a neat pile and add the salmon. Drizzle the orange juice sauce over top.