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Best Way To Cook Salmon

On one of my initial interviews to get a position as an Alaskan fishing guide, an early question was, “Do you know how to cook?” My answer was, “I can cook”.  Fortunately for me, my mother noticed my interest in cooking at an early age, bought me cook books and encouraged me to try new recipes. My grandma who is a master of cooking wild game and baking incredible bread also inspired me.

There was a reason for the question about my cooking skills. A guide may not need the abilities of a five-star chef, but fishing guides are often asked about how to prepare their catch of the day. As a Kenai River fishing guide, a frequent question I get is; “What is the best way to cook my sockeye (red) or coho (silver) salmon”?  I have a few favorites though sometimes my favorite recipe depends on the time of year and how much salmon I’ve eaten to date. I will painfully admit that my wife Stephanie Lesmeister is a far superior chef than I am when it comes to cooking the fresh caught or frozen salmon from the Kenai River.  I will make my next few blogs about our family’s favorite recipes and our two favorite brines which we use in preparation for smoking the  salmon.

Before I give you a recipe I will say the first couple fish of the year are grilled over charcoal – and occasionally alder – from the yard and cooked medium rare with a light sprinkle of sea salt.  That is it!  After our initial craving for the rich and simple taste of salmon is satisfied and salmon becomes a regular part of our diet, we start piling on the spices and sauces depending on our mood.

Salmon Burgers

2 pounds of Kenai River sockeye

3/4 cup panko crumbs

1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

1tsp grated fresh ginger

1 clove of garlic minced

2 egg whites

3 Tbs soy sauce

Juice of half a lime

1/2 tsp salt

 

Mayo Wasabi

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbs wasabi paste

1 tsp soy sauce

Mix all the ingredients for your salmon burgers in a bowl then make round patties to size.  We use Hawaiian rolls for the smaller sized sliders, and brioche buns for magnum burgers. Heat the skillet and add avocado oil to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes per side.

As a bonus, we  pre-make and freeze burgers for me to cook for lunch.  When I make them for lunch I like to make wraps and add red onions and greens with the wasabi sauce and sometimes unagi sauce.

Stephanie found this recipe in the cookbook, The Alaska From Scratch Cookbook, and we have been eating these delicious burgers ever since.

Bon Apetit!

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Mile Marker 48, Cooper Landing, AK 99572
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Jason's Guide Service
Reviewed from Google

4.8 out of 5 stars

Cindy Porter
Cindy Porter

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

If you come to Alaska, or if you live in Alaska and want to enjoy some quality time on the Kenai River and actually CATCH some fish, Jason's Guide Service can get you there.
I have fished the Kenai on my own, but I've never caught fish like I did on a charter with Jason's. Caleb was our guide and he was professional, thourgh, patient and an excellent teacher of all things fish. Did I mention we caught some HUGE FISH? The trip was epic, and we will definitely be back for more!

Karen Plante
Karen Plante

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

We had two great drift fishing trips down the Kenai River with Jason. He was straightforward about the probability of catching species based on all conditions and left the choice of adventure up to us. He demonstrated a depth of knowledge about the river, fish and wildlife behavior and lots of other questions about Alaska! You can tell that he loves and is an expert in what he does and where he lives. We had a great time catching rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, and a King salmon watched by bald eagles lining the banks. Also loved seeing spawning Sockeye and the bull moose at the boat landing! We will definitely book with Jason again on our next trip to Alaska.

Phil Wagner
Phil Wagner

5 out of 5 stars

posted 5 months ago

Caleb had us on the Trout even when they were a little hard to find! Always handy with a new lure or spot to try when things ran cold and we were right back on em. Great guide, great fishing. Don’t hesitate to book. Thanks so much!

Ryan Michel
Ryan Michel

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

Had a great time with my dad. Caleb was our guide and he was fantastic. Easy going and very knowledgeable when it came to the river, specific fish, where to fish, and how to fish. Absolutely recommend, wish we could have done a full day trip!

JEFF CLAPP
JEFF CLAPP

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

We live in Anchorage and have our own drift boat but still choose to fish with Jason or Caleb when hiring a guide on the upper or middle Kenai river. I always learn something from them! Highly recommended!

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