Photo Credit: Liza McCorkle/getty images
Last summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Cordova, Alaska, a small fishing village and the heartbeat of the Copper River salmon industry. I accompanied a star fisherman out on her vessel, visited a seafood processing plant, and experienced the warmth and determination of a group of professionals committed not only to catching plenty of fish, but to safeguarding the health of the salmon stocks for future generations.
Wild Alaskan salmon are prized for their sustainability, high omega-3 fatty acid content, flavor, and texture, and each year they return to their spawning grounds to fight upstream waters and complete their life cycle.
The official 2010 salmon season kicked off this morning at 7:00 a.m., so here’s a primer on what’s in store:
Sockeye: Sockeye, or reds, have deep red flesh, firm texture, and a rich flavor profile. Ideal for a variety of cooking methods (grilling, broiling, roasting, smoking, and more), this season’s sockeye stocks are expected to be plentiful.
Kings: Kings, or chinooks, tend to command a dear price, and are prized for their firm texture, high oil content, and succulence. If you see them on an upscale menu and can afford the price tag, go for it. They’re the largest of the five species of Alaskan wild salmon, and the availability of Copper River kings this season will be limited.
Later, in June, the Keta, Pink and Coho salmon will begin to be harvested in Alaskan waters. Ketas, or chum, are best cooked over lower temperatures; small, mild pinks do best grilled or roasted, and Coho, or silvers, are well-suited to the grill.
Click here for tips on cooking frozen salmon without thawing it first.