Kenai River ‘Martini’ by William Roberson, Executive Chef at Land’s End Resort in Homer
When the best of the Alaskan Salmon starts rolling in every year, the fish from the Kenai River don’t need very much done to them to bring out that spectacular flavor. A little salt, a little pepper and a little acidity along with a deft hand on the grill or sauté pan and you can quickly be eating some of the world’s truly great fish. For this recipe I like to use some dry vermouth for acidity and a quick green olive relish for an additional salty/briny component. The accompanying potatoes provide a light, somewhat floral (depending on your olive oil) side note.
Four 6-8 oz. Kenai River Salmon Filets (skin & pin bones removed)
1/2 a red onion
12 pitted green olives
2 T. capers (patted dry
1 T. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup dry vermouth (preferably with a brush for basting)
Kosher Salt & Fresh cracked Black pepper
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
5 leaves fresh basil
1 rib celery
2 green onions
1/3-1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pat salmon dry and lightly season with salt & Pepper, cook either on grill or in sauté pan, basting each side with dry vermouth. Ideally fish should be just rare in the center.
Finely chop parsley and set aside. Either by hand or in a food processor mince olives, capers & onion together until very fine or almost a paste in the processor, fold in parsley and lt stand 15 minutes or so.
Boil potatoes WHOLE in SALTED water (skin on or off your choice) until just done in the center, approx. 20 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool. While potatoes are cooling dice celery, finely chop green onion & basil and place all in a large mixing bowl. Zest the lemon and add 1/2 the lemon juice along with a pinch of salt. When potatoes are cool enough to handle cut into small cubes and toss with basil/celery/gr. onion mixture. Fold in olive oil until just coated and salt to taste.
To serve, plate a piece of Salmon, brush lightly with vermouth again and top with 2-4 tsp of olive relish, serve olive oil potato salad on the side and try not to eat too fast. Bon Appetite!