What do a two year old and an Alaskan salmon fisherman have in common? Not much.
Back when my son was two years old, I thought it would be a good idea to teach him some basic man skills. Fishing. Not that I had actually mastered that particular skill myself, but, a two year old certainly wouldn’t be able to figure out that the instructor was nearly as green as the student.
A camping weekend was a good opportunity. We brought our gear. Which amounted to a couple of nearly new rods, some old lures and a few randomly collected fishing odds and ends. We were off to reel in the BIG one.
Our campground had a small lake, which I thought would be the perfect training ground for my son’s life lesson. We unpacked and organized our things for what was certain to be a killer afternoon of fishing.
We carefully baited our nearly rusty hooks with fresh night crawlers from the camp’s general store. Eyed the almost calm water and set about the business of emptying that small lake of its gilled contents.
Thirty minutes past. Which when your fishing with a two year old seems just a little longer. Another thirty gone. And, another. Either these fish were too crafty for us or someone had beaten us to our scaly treasure.
Then it happened! My son started reeling as madly as any two year old with a junior fishing pole could. He looked excited. As he brought his prize to the surface one thing became immediately obvious. Whatever was at the end of that hook certainly was not a fish.
When the reeling was finished, my proud son had landed himself a medium sized, water logged oak leaf. But, did that stop the celebration? Certainly not. His first catch may not have been edible, but, it was exciting as all get out.
After another half hour we decided to pack our gear and call it a day. With nothing but great fish stories in tow, we left the lake and grilled burgers for dinner. An unqualified success.
I recently came across another great fish story, Salmon, Desserts & Friends by fisherman/chef/author LaDonna Gundersen. But, unlike my tale, this story has an ending that involves actually catching fish.
LaDonna and her husband Ole operate a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska. This is REAL fishing. Thank goodness they can actually catch fish, because I love salmon. And, I would hate to see my supply dry up.
This book is stocked with all kinds of great salmon recipes. Fortunately, you don’t have to execute them in an authentic, cramped galley kitchen like she does.
I thought I would try my hand at the Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce. I figured, hey, I have more than a 10 X 10 kitchen to work with. LaDonna probably wouldn’t know what to do with all that space.
Here’s how to do it
1 14 oz. can salmon, drained
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp. dries oregano
? tsp. salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 hamburger buns
4 crisp lettuce leaves
4 large tomato slices
Ingredients – Creamy Basil Sauce
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh basil
In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, eggs, parsley, onion, bread crumbs, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper. Form into four patties.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the patties and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both sides.
Method - Creamy Basil Sauce
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the basil.
Place one cooked salmon patty on a bun bottom. Top with a spoonful of basil sauce. Top with one lettuce leaf and one tomato slice. Add bun top and enjoy.
TIP: You may need to add more bread crumbs to get to the desired consistency to form your patties. Since you are using olive oil and not peanut or canola, be careful not to overheat it. It has a lower smoke point (but more flavor) than the other two.
The Bottom Line: LaDonna has put together a fantastic collection of salmon recipes. Not only are they fun and easy to make, but, her and Ole’s story is pretty unique and interesting. I wouldn’t mind spending some time on their boat honing my nearly non-existent fishing skills. Couldn’t everybody use a seasonal inexperienced deckhand?
One last thing. On page 25, there is a recipe for a dish called, Wild About Salmon. A cryptic dedication accompanies the recipe. I would love to know what all that means.
BONUS: I have signed copy of LaDonna’s book to give to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment to this post telling us how much you love salmon and we’ll pick one at random. Yes, it’s just that’s easy!