I love wild Alaska salmon, especially king salmon, but as leftovers it usually doesn’t do it for me…that is until I tried it in the following ways, which make extras usable instead of finding their way to the trash—a serious tragedy.
The key to making salmon that is fit to reappear in a future dish is the way you cook it. Ideally you would reserve part of the uncooked fillet for up to an additional day and bake or grill it fresh for use, but if you aren’t sure how much you will use and cook the whole fillet, here are some good ways to utilize what remains. Make sure to cook your salmon slightly less than needed. You can let it stand to rest for your initial meal and it will continue to cook for a few minutes and it won’t be overkill or dried out too much to be used in further recipes. Make sure to use your cooked salmon within a day or so of cooking.
- Breakfast Burrito
Cook up some scrambled eggs, add cheese, scallions, fried potatoes and sour cream, flaked leftover salmon and wrap in a flour tortilla that you have fried slightly in a quality butter. This is also delicious with smoked salmon, but any way you prepare your salmon should work well in a breakfast burrito. You can experiment by adding sautéed veggies like onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini or whatever else you like.
- Salmon Salad
Flake your leftover salmon with a fork. Add an even mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream until you achieve your desired texture, juice from half a lemon and spices you are in the mood for. You could try dill or a little cayenne. Eat on crackers like Ritz or spread it on a toasted piece of delicious crusty bread with some crunchy lettuce. Some people like to add chopped celery or pickle to their salmon salad, but I prefer it simple. You could add pesto sauce to your salmon salad to mix things up.
Making a cream-based soup is easy and adding leftover salmon is a great way to add protein and make good use of your fish. Whether it is a corn chowder pureed from organic frozen corn and coconut milk or the most elaborate chowder featuring micro-brewed beer and bacon, adding leftover salmon makes any chowder “Alaskafied”.
- Salmon Tacos
Add some Talkeetna Taco Seasoning by Alaska Spice Co. to your already cooked salmon if your original recipe was simple and basic. Make a fabulous cabbage salsa featuring fresh cilantro and tomato to top your salmon and place all on a flour or corn tortilla. I like to make a cilantro cream sauce using fresh cilantro and coconut milk. The combination of spicy salmon, crunchy cabbage salsa and smooth, creamy sauce is wonderful.
- Salmon Mac and Cheese
Alaskan comfort food at its finest. Cook some fusilli noodles, make a cheese sauce with butter, flour and a good cheese like gouda. Add blanched broccoli, par-cooked salmon and top with panko and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so.
And hey, if you run out of time or gumption or you have just a bit of salmon left, there isn’t one dog on this planet that would turn their snoot up to having some sprinkled on their dog food.
Melissa Norris is Publisher of Fish Alaska magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org