Turning Fish Into Food

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The big box of fish I brought home from Willapa Bay resulted in a flurry of salmon processing. Pictured above is the second smoker load of the week, just out of the brine and air drying before going into the smoker. Collars and belly strips on the left, fillet chunks on the right, and an extremely interested party in back.

The day after returning home, I filleted all the fish and cooked some prime center-cut chunks for dinner. Then Skyla and I made our smoking brine, cut the fish into serving sizes and started the first batch soaking. When that one was in the smoker, another round went into fresh brine. We also separated eggs from membrane to make ikura (salmon caviar) and started that curing in the fridge. The vac-sealer came out for more center-cut fillets going into the freezer. Meanwhile, we were already deep into salmon salad sandwiches, and when it was ready, eating smoked salmon and ikura two or three times a day. Happily, that pace has yet to let up.

Finally, I started vac-sealing and freezing smoked salmon…mostly to keep us from eating it all on the spot. Half the ikura went into jars for freezing as well. For the same reason. Whew! In all, it was about seven days of processing from two days of fishing. But all the good eating along the way–and in the future–made it more than worthwhile.

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