Pacific Northwest Fare

On a recent trip back to Washington state {Two Rivers Run Through It}, I took advantage of the opportunity to stuff my face with as much Pacific Northwest goodness as humanly possible.

WallaWalla

One of the definite highlights was sinking my teeth into fruit fresh from the orchards of my hometown {Apple Of My Eye}, but my absolute favorite moments were sharing Chinook (King) and Sockeye salmon with friends. If it was available, I chose salmon – in fact, I managed to find some every single day of my trip.

DavesSockeye

From the gorgeous fish reeled in by friends from very long ago and far away – served straight off the heat with a group fork while standing in the kitchen reminiscing (thanks, Sean!) to the painstakingly prepared meal with a special rub, citrusy green beans and a carefully selected bottle of Columbia Valley wine (thanks, Dave!), there’s just no comparison for fresh Pacific salmon no matter how it’s served.

Sharecroppers

It turns out that’s an opinion shared by more than a couple of people {The Bottom Line On Salmon}. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of salmon – and it’s not a simple thing to track down in northwest Arkansas, as you might imagine. However, I just can’t justify Atlantic or farm-raised salmon.

As a side note, in college I worked as a summer tour guide at Rocky Reach Dam on the Columbia River, where a fish ladder (or bypass system) lets visitors “look a salmon in the eye.” Back then, there were ladies who worked in the fish counting room – so my expectations for salmon are probably set a little on the high side.

Fortunately, Blu Bentonville is doing a killer job of sourcing the good stuff – fast – and if I can’t have it straight from river to fork, it’s a close second.

Blu

Not salmon, but still fresh & delicious at Blu Bentonville

For the record: it may be blasphemy to salmon purists, but our tried and true favorite approach to salmon – on the grill or otherwise – is a mix of sesame oil with a little bit of worcestershire, salt & pepper as an advance marinade. Sesame oil has a delicious nutty flavor that’s awesome with salmon (although for the record, it’s not necessarily great for high temperature cooking and frying) and gives a slight Asian flare.

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