Salmon Story, With Recipe

This was too long to fit in Doug’s Picks. If you don’t like salmon, feel free to skip it, with my sympathy.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, wild salmon are threatened for many reasons, including dams that impede their migration, chemicals that poison streams, overfishing, drought, and water allocation policies. Declining salmon runs engender battles among environmentalists, recreational fisherman, commercial fishing interests, Indian tribes and, of course, politicians.
This Seattle Times story touches on just one aspect of the complex controversy surrounding survival of a species that humans love to eat. Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum varieties are still available, if in limited amounts. None is more desirable than Copper River King, the Chinook caught off Alaska where the Copper River flows into Prince William Sound near Cordova. Fighting torrential, chilly currents, the Copper River King develops rich flesh loaded with Omega 3 oils—good, and good for you.
The farm salmon lobby may try to persuade you that there’s no difference between their fish and wild salmon. I suggest that you buy a filet from a farmed Atlantic salmon and one from a Copper River King, prepare them the same way and judge for yourself. Here’s a splendid recipe to use for your test, borrowed from our friend Nancy, who treated my wife and me to it the other night.
Tray Baked Salmon.
Use a broiler pan or any other oven-proof baking dish that’s about 9” by 11”. Do not oil the pan.
Four 8-ounce thick salmon fillet steaks with or without skin.
7 ounces of fresh green beans, stems trimmed away.
20 small cherry tomatoes
1 to 2 handsful of black olives (Nancy used Calamata pitted olives)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
Salt and freshly ground pepper.
2 lemons.
One handful of fresh basil
12 anchovies.
Blanch the trimmed green beans. Put the beans, tomatoes and olives in a bowl. Toss them with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Wash the salmon fillets and pat them dry. Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over the fillets on both sides, then season with salt and pepper and drizzle the olive oil over both sides. Preheat your oven and the empty roasting tray at the highest oven temperature (Nancy uses 500 degrees). Put the salmon fillets on one side of the tray. Toss the basil leaves into the green bean mixture and place the mixture on the other side of the tray. Lay the anchovies over the green beans. Roast for about ten minutes or until done. Test the doneness of the salmon by assessing the color and opacity. Overcooking robs moisture, flavor and texture. Serve with the remaining lemon quarters. Bon appetit.
To go with your salmon, try this enigmatic wine, one of those daring Washington State blended whites that are getting a lot attention.

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