Weather: after weeks of record-breaking warm weather it’s 51 degrees and overcast
What I’m listening to: big machines doing roadwork on our dirt road outside
A couple from our church caught some sockeye salmon on the Kenai River, and when we got home from church, there were fresh fillets, only hours out of the water, perched on the shelf in our refrigerator – the first fresh salmon of the season to grace my kitchen. There will be more in July, much more, but there is always something extra special about the first catch, that beautiful bright red, fleshy meat.
A couple of notes. First, birch syrup – like salmon, it’s one of our stunning local Alaska products. It looks like maple syrup, but it’s tapped from birch trees instead, and it less sweet and a little more savory than maple. It has a slightly smoky, almost umami quality, like hints of soy sauce mingling with traces of molasses and honey. It’s amazing for marinades. But, birch syrup is rare and pricey, so if you don’t have some on hand, maple syrup or honey are nice substitutes in this recipe.
The second note is about the use of lemons on kebabs. Slice them very thinly, season them with salt and pepper and brush them with the marinade right along with your protein, and let them get all caramelized and crispy over the fire. Prepared this way, they’re not just a lovely garnish or a touch of acid, but you can eat them whole right along with your fish. They’re delicious.