Sunday, August 8, 2010

Alaska's Red Gold...

One of the greatest thing about living in Alaska is the access to fresh and fantastic salmon. There is nothing better than grilling salmon the same day you catch it--except, perhaps using the leftovers to make Salmon Melts.

My Favorite Uncle (a self-chosen name...though he is fantastic) went dipnetting last week on the Kenai River. Their trip was relatively unsuccessful, since they only caught 7 red salmon between 5 people. Favorite Uncle caught 4 of them, I believe, and since my Grandma was in town, he cooked some up the next night (the plan was to have them the same day, but my Aunt already had moose sausage spaghetti sauce in the crockpot, and we were concerned it would clash--plus Favorite Uncle needed to rest and not fillet fish). Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well, and didn't eat any of the fish at dinner, so I brought some home with me. Thanks, Mom.

It sat in my refrigerator until today. I walked with Jared, my 30-lb 16 month old, 4 miles, carrying him in a fantastic REI baby backpack. I was exhausted and sweaty when I got home, and since I had only eaten some multigrain Wheat Thins, a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, some chocolate Silk and some Knudson Morning Blend juice for breakfast, I knew I needed something fantastic.

Enter Salmon Melts.

I make mine like I make my tuna, usually. I am not a fan of mayo, so I use ranch dressing instead. Today was a little different, though.

Salmon Melts

2 slices wheat bread, buttered
1 cup cooked salmon
1 1/2 T ranch dressing
1 1/2 T dijon or stoneground mustard
a dash or two of cumin, one of my favorites spices (thank you, Turkey)
a dash of garlic powder
2 thick slices of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese

1. Heat oven (I use our countertop oven a LOT) to 350 F

2. Combine salmon, ranch, mustard and spices in a bowl.

3. Spread the salmon mixture onto the two slices of buttered bread, lay a thick piece of cheddar on top for good measure.

4. I baked them for about 8 minutes then broiled for a couple minutes to get the cheese nice and bubbly.

I cut up a tomato and sprinkled each slice with salt and pepper (the best way to eat a fresh tomato, bar none) and filled a shot glass with dry roasted almonds for a delicious accompaniment.

It was nothing fancy, but it was fantastic after a long, hard walk!

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