This recipe for luscious grilled Copper River salmon is very simple and very tasty. This special fish may be difficult to find in some parts of the world, but if you can find it, buy some. It's definitely worth the extra cost.
Salmon begin swimming up the Copper River in Alaska near the middle of May each year. Sockeye, kings and coho all spawn in the Copper River, and all have higher than average oil content in their flesh.
The reason for this is that the salmon need to swim up to 300 miles to get to their spawning areas, and need the nourishment that the extra fat and oil gives them. This extra fat is also the reason the Copper River salmon taste so good, and command a premium price at the store.
This recipe is simple, using a minimum of ingredients. The only extra flavor added to the fish is a bit of light smokiness and a touch of salt.
For this recipe, you'll need one two to three pound fillet of Copper River sockeye or king salmon, salt, and about 1/4 cup of alder or apple chips.
Soak the wood chips in water for about a half-hour. As the chips are soaking, light the charcoal, then prep the salmon if necessary.
If there are pin bone in the fillet, remove them with a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers. Lightly season the fish with salt.
The fillet will be grilled using the indirect grilling method. The hot charcoal will be on one side of the grill, with the fish on the other.
In larger grills, the charcoal can be placed in two piles on the sides, with the fillet place between them.
When the charcoal is completely ashed over, remove the smoking wood from the water and drain. Wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil and place it directly on the charcoal.
When the wood begins to smoke, place the salmon fillet on the cooler part of the grate and cover the grill.
Cook the salmon until the flesh turns opaque, and just begins to flake with a fork. Don't overcook this great tasting piece of fish, or it will be less flavorful and dry.
Serve the grilled Copper river Salmon with salad, a baked potato, and some grilled summer squash.
This fish can be found fresh but one month out of the year, from mid-May to mid-June...enjoy it while you can!