You might be wondering why #5days5ways with Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon deserves special attention. You might be surprised to discover that this fish swam into my life just two years ago by way of my dear friend Elizabeth, when she introduced the Community Supported Fishery (CSF), Wild for Salmon, to Ithaca. My first morsel of Bristol Bay Sockeye inspired a deep appreciation for a fish that extends far beyond palatable pleasure and nutrition. Sockeye Salmon represents a culture that is deeply rooted in not one, but generations of stories. It defines an ecosystem that is pristine and abundant. It showcases the power of community, in both the pattern of salmon’s lives and the Indigenous families that have evolved around this food source. Sockeye Salmon is precious, and the Pebble Mine’s institution would lead to one of history’s most devastating depletions of awesome wildlife and culinary meaning.

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I’ve always preferred to eat than protest. It’s not to say protests don’t have their merit, but my fork seems a more powerful tool than a signpost. Over the past eighth days, it has been my hope that a small – yet powerful – team of American chefs might spread the love for Sockeye Salmon through recipes you can make at home and share with family and friends. I hope you’ve been as captivated by the snippets, stories and insights from Rob KinneenJenn and Steve Kurian (the fishermen!), Tom Douglas, Michael Leviton, Barton Seaver, Nicole Gaffney and Kyle Mendenhall…as I have.

We have three days left to savor Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon, which would be incomplete without a recipe (or two) from yours truly, and a big bang of a conclusion with one of the chefs I most admire (stay tuned).

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So today, I bring you one of my Elizabeth Herendeen’s to-die-for smoked salmon spread, “such a simple name for such an amazingly flavorful dip!” I was inspired to make this because it’s an easy, protein-packed dish to take on the trail. You can bring the components and make it trailside, or whip it up by the campfire, grill some bread and lavish heartily. This is what we did at Firelight Camps. It’s perfect for quick satisfaction at home, and will be wiped clean in seconds flat. I promise.

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Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Spread

Most grocery stores carry a version of smoked sockeye salmon. Choose the sturdier salmon that still resembles a fillet, coral and caramelized in color (not the thinly sliced lox typically served on bagels).

Ingredients

  • Cream cheese - 1 (8-ounce) block, softened
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream - 3 tablespoons
  • Green onions or chives - 1/3 cup, finely sliced
  • Hot smokes sockeye salmon - 4 ounces
  • Capers - 1 tablespoon, or more
  • Fresh dill (optional) - 1-2 tablespoons, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper - 8 turns of the mill

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, use a fork to beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Slowly incorporate the sour cream or yogurt, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Mix in the green onions or chives until evenly incorporated.
  4. Mix in the smoked salmon, capers and freshly ground black pepper.
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