Friday, October 26, 2007

Sustainable Seafood Month: Wild Smoked Salmon Strata

The Leather District Gourmet is hosting a sustainable seafood event this month, and I'm getting in just under the wire today. If there's one thing Isolationville does have, it's fish. Lots and lots of fish. We live in one of the largest salmon spawning grounds in the world, so our salmon is not just wild, it's local, and very, very little fossil fuel energy was spent to get it to our table.

This year was a great one for salmon in our particular drainage. The escapement (the number of fish that get past the commercial fisheries) was 3 million sockeye alone! We have kings and silvers, too, so there were one heck of a lot of salmon swimming upriver just a couple hundred yards from our house. We did have to drive about 14 miles to where we put in our net to get our subsistence catch in July, but that's it for transportation of these beauties.

My belief is that sustainability is in the use, not just the type of fish and how you get it. Our planet would be so much better off if we all treated animal foods, including fish, as a special occasion food or a condiment. With that in mind, my dish for this event features some of peppered smoked sockeye I made this year. It packs a flavorful punch, so you don't need much of it to get good salmon taste. I was also working on using up the wonderful fresh eggs a friend gave us. A friend of hers keeps chickens who are going nuts with laying, so I was the very happy recipient of 18 fresh eggs last week.

I made an eggy smoked salmon strata, or a stacked omelet. It was fun and pretty easy. Here's a rough recipe:

Wild Smoked Salmon Strata

5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
salt to taste

Beat the eggs and liquid together very well. Set aside.

1/4-1/3 pound smoked, peppered salmon, shredded
1/4 cup capers, minced
1/4 onion, slivered
1/4 cup cream cheese or soft, mild cheese (or goat cheese would be great)
fresh pepper
butter for frying

The dish is a stacked series of very thin omelets, each with one of the fillings. For the smoked salmon strata, I did four layers with the salmon, two of which were heavily peppered as well, two caper layers, a cheese layer, and a thick onion layer. For most of them, I melted butter in a nonstick, small pan, poured in a scant 1/4 cup of the eggs, sprinkled on the filling, flipped, and cooked a minute on the flip side. Each finished layer was added to a straight-sided bowl to help shape the finished product. For the onion layer, I first carmelized the onion, spread it evenly in the pan, and poured the egg on top.

I served this with stuffed, twice-baked potatoes, so I let it sit a while to let the layers come together a bit, and then rewarmed it during the last ten minutes that the potatoes were in the oven. I inverted the strata onto a plate for cutting and serving. It's not much more difficult than making each person an omelet, but it can be quite elegant, and is a versatile dish.

For the price of a tail-end of one half of one fish, locally caught, we had a dish full of salmon flavor and goodness.


  1. Wow this looks spectacular as does your backyard view in the profile! I was just cleaning up my city garden (fire escape) and singing the "Green Acres" theme song in bits in my head. You know, Zsa Zsa and Eddie "oh aahh lee vah!"

    Anyway, I'm a bit of both but right now a city dweller. Even the crackheads in the alley like to comment on my morning glories climbing the fire escape and the vinca hanging down...

  2. Thanks for the compliment! I wish I could have morning glories here... maybe in our soon-to-be-new-home in the desert.