I’m Participating in #FromThePantryFebruary

white beans

The beans in my pantry need eating!

I have to admit—there’s a bunch of things in my pantry that need to be eaten.

I’ve got a variety of soba noodles, a pack of rice papers, myriad lentils and beans, a few different kinds of flours, and some canned goods; my freezer contains some CSA vegetables, nuts, stock, and meats (especially salmon). I went through a lot of the pantry goods last year and threw out the things that had expired, (I had one can that expired in 2012! Yeesh.) but there’s still a lot that remains—and all that deserves to be consumed. Continue reading “I’m Participating in #FromThePantryFebruary”

Iliamna Salmon Share Has Arrived

Back in June I wrote that I had joined a wild-caught salmon CSA, run by the Iliamna Fish Company.  This weekend, I picked up my fish!

Pickup was at The Brooklyn Kitchen, right by the front door.  I hadn’t been to TBK since they’d moved to their new space on Frost Street, so I was also very curious to see the place.  Wow, it is awesome!  Lots of space, connection to The Meat Hook (a wonderful butcher that stocks local meat), and plenty of drool-worthy products.  I plan to buy my Harsch crock there this fall.

I must say, it smells amazing there.  They make a variety of sausages, and they smell delicious.

the package

The Iliamna representative – one of the family members – met me at the front of the store, keeping watch over a giant chest freezer.  It was probably 6 feet long, and full of vacuum packed, frozen fish.  My share was all wrapped up in two layers of butcher paper, and fit perfectly in my Hellgate CSA tote bag.  There was no risk of the fish defrosting, the way it was insulated.

Inside the package were 8 fillets.

frozen fish

I was able to fit them all in my freezer, thank goodness!  I was a little concerned that they’d be too big, but they fit just fine.

I put a couple of the fillets in the fridge to defrost, as friends were coming over to check out the salmon.  I thought that each fillet might feed three people – boy was I wrong.  One fillet fed 5 of us, with fish to spare!  So, I have a whole fillet ready to cook, which I’ll do tonight.  I plan to make salmon burgers with the cooked fish and freeze them for a later date.

This salmon is really gorgeous.


I cooked it very simply – olive oil, fleur de sel, and lemon juice to season it.  Baked in parchment at 350 degrees.  Parchment is my favorite way to cook fish, apart from grilling.  It took about 20 minutes to cook the entire fillet, though I would be happy with cooking it for 15 minutes.

in parchment

The fish had amazing flavor – very clean and salmony.  I loved it, as did my guests.  I’m really happy I have this fish.  I look forward to eating it throughout the fall and winter, too!

Iliamna Fish Company CSA

iliamnaThis weekend, while perusing Chowhound, I came across a post entitled Where should I buy wild salmon? It mentioned a wild salmon CSA, and as a lover of wild caught salmon, it certainly caught my eye.

The salmon is caught by the Iliamna Fish Company, a third-generation family-owned cooperative based in Alaska. They follow the natural spawning season of the salmon, and catch the fish in late June and early July in Bristol Bay.  Members of the CSA will receive 12 pounds of flash-frozen sockeye salmon in late August, at a pickup location in Brooklyn.

Wild Sockeye is deep red in color and has the highest levels of omega-3 in the salmon family.  It’s high in protein, has plenty of good fat, and minerals.  It’s also delicious!

So how sustainable is are the methods for catching this fish?  According to their website, “Iliamna Fish Company sockeye salmon are Marine Stewardship Council certified-signifying the ocean, rivers and lake where our wild sockeye grow are part of a healthy and pure marine ecosystem.”  As far as the way they are caught, the fish are caught by small boats (4 feet deep and 20 feet long)  in set nets:

The process of set netting might be compared to tying a sheet to a clothesline in the wind. Nets are “set,” or anchored, perpendicular to the shore, usually in 25-fathom increments. The top of the net, floated by white synthetic corks, is tied to a line running between fixed anchors at both ends. The bottom of the net is a heavy, weighted line that sinks below the surface of the water.

Between the floating line and the weighted line, the webbing of the net billows with the strong current of the tide. As fish move up and downstream with the tide, they are caught in the billowing, curved “basket” formed by the tide and net. Fish are either ensnared at their heads, by catching their gills in the webbing, or they are caught lying broadside, ungilled-held in the “basket” of the net by the tidal current.

More about Iliamna’s set nets can be found here.

They also work with the biologists that monitor the streams in the area, and only after they determine there is enough fish does the Iliamna crew head in for the catch.  This ensures there is no overfishing and that salmon will be here for years to come.  They also support the work of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Marine Stewardship Council, Ecotrust, and Salmon Nation.

So, come August I should have 12 pounds of sustainably-fished, wild-caught sockeye in my freezer!  I’ll be enjoying salmon throughout the fall and winter, I expect.  I’m really excited about this!  I will certainly report back on the quality of the fish this fall.