Recipes from Alaska: Salmon Alfredo

Recipes from Alaska: Salmon Alfredo

We were spending our first summer in Alaska.  Ben guided for the first time that year, working on the rivers in the Mat-Su valley with Fisherman’s Choice Charters.

Lovin' Life on the River
Lovin’ Life on the River

I had just finished graduate school and was waiting to hear if I had passed my boards.  My days were filled up by enjoying the outdoors on hikes, out on the water with Ben, reading to my hearts’ content and making tasty treats.  I once made a Rhubab-Strawberry Pie that summer, which we quickly learned was our dog, Remi’s favorite kind of pie.  I’m sure I do not need to explain any further, though I will, when I share that recipe.

Ben's Camera 217
Hiking near Hatcher Pass

The day I discovered the pleasures of combining Alfredo sauce and Salmon, I had spent the entire day reading, which I am prone to doing and realized at the last minute that I hadn’t thawed anything for dinner.  Ben’s boss had given us a few jars of his canned Salmon.  I had a jar of Alfredo and a box of pasta in the cabinet, which is the long and short of how this recipe was born.  We were addicted from that point forward.

In the years since, we have taken our household in a new direction, attempting to avoid processed food as much as possible, so we’ve traded in the jars of Alfredo for a homemade version.  You can make the choice in terms of what you have time for.  When I make this with jarred Alfredo, I like to use Red Pepper or Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo.  When we make it from scratch, we love to add mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and other goodies I’ve listed at the bottom of the recipe.  Have fun with it, it’s truly a challenge to ruin this dish once you master the art of a Roux.

Good Days!
Good Days!

You can also use fresh or canned salmon, we’ve done both.  If you use fresh, just cook it up in a skillet, make the Alfredo in a separate pan, and add the salmon at the very end.  This is a great way to use up left overs of Salmon.  Not having to deal with Y-bones is one of the benefits of using canned salmon, but if you only have fresh, just skin it (which also makes it easier to remove the Y-bones) and take the extra few minutes to pull the Y-bones out with a pair of hemostats or needle-nose pliers, before you cook it.  To start the Alfredo sauce, you make a Roux, which turns out to be a handy skill in the world of cooking, as many sauces are made from this base.

Silver Salmon 2014
Silver Salmon before canning

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (room temperature)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 pinches paprika
  • 1 pint of canned salmon or 1 lb of fresh salmon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle flour into melted butter, whisking constantly (this creates a Roux).  Cook, whisking constantly for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until mixture is golden and lumpy.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.  While constantly whisking, cook for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened (the thickening will happen instantly, you won’t be able to miss it).
  • Remove from heat and add cheese, salt, pepper and paprika, whisk until smooth.
  • Add Salmon and stir.
  • Enjoy over your favorite pasta.
  • Suggested additional ingredients:
    • You can use smoked canned Salmon for a completely different flavor profile.
    • 1 tsp hot sauce
    •  1/4-1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes (add with the Salmon)
    • 1 cup of additional seafood (wild caught baby langostinos from Costco is one of favorites, add with the Salmon)
    • 3-4 sliced fresh white mushrooms or 1 can of mushrooms (add right after you’ve whisked in all of the milk.  We also recommend sauteing the mushrooms, garlic and Salmon in a skillet before you add them to the sauce)
    •  1 cup of fresh spinach (add with the cheese right at the very end)
    • Garlic to taste ( you can saute fresh garlic with the mushrooms if you want to be really fancy)
    • You can also serve this over ravioli if you like, we enjoy mozzarella and spinach ravioli with this dish.
Canned Silver Salmon 2014
Smoked and regular canned Salmon

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