It’s winter – cold and dark. Rivers and streams are frozen. The summer’s salmon runs have long ago ended. Salmon eggs are incubating in icy gravel beds, juvenile salmon are feeding in lakes and rivers, and next season’s fish are ranging far and free in the open ocean. Those of us in the colder regions hunker down and cozy up, keeping our spirits warm and healthy. It’s during this gray, more sedentary time of year when we feel a distinctly primal craving for salmon as fuel for our minds and bodies.
It’s almost as if we’re returning to some ancient human biological rhythm, to a time when Alaskans relied on their dried salmon to get them through the winters. Our eyes crave the sunrise of color it brings to our plates. Our tongues hunger for its clean ocean of taste, light and pure. Our bodies hum with the powerful protein swimming through us. And our minds seek the clarity of thought this food brings.
Yes, we know all the health and mood benefits of eating salmon, but we love the fact that we don’t need this intellectual knowledge to know how we need to fuel ourselves. We just need to listen to our bodies.
Perhaps the best part is that it’s so easy to connect with these healthy salmon. We thaw out a fresh frozen fillet overnight, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and bake it for 22 minutes. It tastes just as wonderful as what we eat straight from the ocean in summer. When simplicity is in order, we delight in simple salt and pepper on our salmon. For more flavor but no added fuss, we drizzle the fillet with pesto sauce, or top with rosemary and homemade preserved lemons, as we did very recently. Our winter’s evening was brightened by the taste of this bountiful, health-giving fish; it was exactly what our souls hungered for. Thank you, salmon!
-Adelia and Tollef