Saturday, July 28, 2018

COOKOUT TIME: SANDPIT SALMON

     Cookouts on the waterfront---whether by sea, lake, pool---have several great social benefits. One, they're a lot of fun. Two, slow-cooked meals are always good. Three, they take a long time to cook, giving you and the cute bathing-beauty nearby ample 'quality time ahead of dinner.



      Back east, there are clambakes, fish broils, and other fun events. Out on the Blue Pacific, there are luaus in Hawaii. So what do we on the continental coast have to offer? 

       SALMON!

       Salmon is the seafood of the West Coast---especially in our Northern regions. Due to the migratory nature of this particular fish, it's not uncommon to obtain one wild-caught. For this particular recipe, red salmon is better used than pink. The difference between the two is merely that pink salmon is leaner. In slow-cooking salmon, fat helps prevent drying out.

       The fish should be about a 6-8 pounder. Needless to say, it should be cleaned; also split. Some prefer to leave the head and tail on; it makes stuffing easier. But in any case, the skin should be left on. 

       Start by digging a pit about a foot to 18 inches or so deep and slightly longer than the fish. Ignite some charcoal briquettes in a fairly large pile and let it burn for an hour. 

        Some people recommend using hard coal instead of charcoal; but this is a bad idea. Some European restaurants use hard coal; but here hard coal is harder to obtain. Worse still, American coals give off Sulpher Dioxide, a respiratory irritant. Adding water produces Sulphuric Acid. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, charcoal burns much hotter and the vapors are non-toxic.

      Stuff the fish, by first lining the interior with salt. Cut two lemons and a medium onion into slices. Then pack the salmon with alternating layers of each. Wrap it tightly in Reynolds' Wrap. Spread out the coals (they are ready when ash-colored)lay the fish on top and cover with remaining coals. The salmon should be done in about 30-45 minutes. Don't overcook, though or the fish will be dry.

      You can eat the stuffing; and I like a side of mashed potatoes or buttered cornbread with this dish.   

     Assuming there are any leftovers, break up the meat and mix it with a 2:3 ratio of mayonnaise and cottage cheese; salt and pepper to taste and serve on toast. Salmon Salad is hard to beat in sandwiches. 

      And it's even better when cooked out by the beach. 

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