Copper River Salmon...

OK…I know it is special and seasonal and in its own right, tasty, flavorful and rich with good fats (the omega 3’s), as well as many other vitamins and minerals. Guests stalk it like those on a vigilant witch hunt. The media promotes it like Paris Hilton. Some chef’s cringe at the thought of it, and yet others embrace it like one of their own. We can all see the many reasons why, and, why not for that matter. The flavor is quite nice and I can honestly say that I enjoy having it on hand. There are those that boast that they feel the Copper River salmon is mediocre and swear by the Yukon or Taku river species or even the white kings. Whatever the case, one can not deny that fresh line, or in this case, usually net caught fish are truly wonderful and remarkable. To each their own. I too enjoy the Yukon or Taku River species and have come to my own conclusion that I do not necessarily think one is better than the other, but merely different. Each fish caught is seemingly different in size, texture, fat content and marbling if you will. How it is handled is paramount and thus affects the fish’s quality as well. How long it is stored and methods used at sea, as well as on land are also huge factors to consider. All of these things make a big difference in the final product that we as chefs or the public alike experience and needless to say, base our opinions and perspectives upon. Traditionally, the Yukon River Kings are marketed as holding a 15% higher fat content as they will travel a much longer and greater distance up river to spawn, thus having the need to hold more nutrients and energy to make the long haul. They are magnificent fish in their own right! The whole point of this proclamation is that the big issue I have (and share with many) is the damn price! What the hell constitutes so much? Sure, we can say it is fuel, labor, or shipping and handling. We can say it is a very limited catch and that availability is scarce at times, which is not stretching the truth too much. Still…All of those things apply to just about everything fresh around the country don't they? So why aren’t the cases of fresh picked corn $150.00? How can we get fresh shrimp or line caught sea bass at half to ¾’s of the price? How can one get a Kurobuta Pork Belly at a fraction of the cost? To say that the public doesn’t know any better, or that chefs will pay it anyway is strongly misguided. Sooner or later, I believe that people will say f-this(some already have) and simply not order or choose to serve it at all. Do they care(the fisherman or distributors)? If they can sell to Japan and make mucho dinero, does it really matter what we think or feel? Probably not, or at least it won’t change much. The reply I hear all too often is that people love the fish, and enjoy eating it, but do not think that it is worth the high ticket bounty stamped on it's "Wanted~ Dead or Alive" head. I agree. And yet, nor can I look away from the fact that some of the fortunate souls are willing to pay for it, thus providing for higher revenues for our own bottom line in the restaurants we work in. At the very least, we as chefs are providing a service for those clientele so that they can experience the luxurious "poisson" prepared by a craftsman of the art. In summation, it is just something that I think we as chef’s and consumers have the obligation and responsibility to voice, in hopes to, if nothing else, contain, if not control this monopoly and racket of a product, all the while raping the public. Enough of the banter…get it while you can, as the season is almost over, and don’t forget to take out that second mortgage and forgo sending the kids to that four year college!


Blogger Michael Walsh said...

Interesting perspective my friend. I'm not a huge fan of eating salmon, of any origin personally, but i find the heavy, fishiness of CR even more off putting than an organic farmed scottich side of fish. Forntunatly no body cares what we think when the food media hypes CR as a savior. I worked 3 years at the top Seafood restaurant in Cleveland, and no matter the day we would sell out of CR salmon for weeks on end, and we charged for it too, we cut small pieces and raised the price, like $30 for a 6 oz portions, and not one complaint! Amazing. I am seeing the whole heritage salmon fanatisism going the way or King Crab Legs, They where huge about 12 years ago, people would pay anything for some, now....they are relativley inexpensive, what happened?? will it happen to salmon??? we will see

10:07:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

anything is possible. Thanks for the comment. Salmon it seems, is one that either you love or hate. For me growing up in the Northwest, it is a childhood memory, as well as a staple in my cooking foundation. Having caught them fresh right out of the ocean and puget sound...nothing like it. You could similate that experiuence to trout of a river or walleye or bass out of a lake. Keep cooking!

4:40:00 PM  

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