Smoked Salmon Sunday Brunch Bagel

Not just any smoked salmon. Private Reserve Rope Hung Smoked Salmon. Oh my.

My fishmonger at Clean Catch, Bill, assured me I will never want any other smoked salmon after eating this. I decided to take on this challenge, as I’ve had a lot of smoked salmon and I love it. The Pacific Northwest seems to have to corner on this, and I admit that’s where I’ve had the best to date. When I travel to Seattle on business, every breakfast, and usually most dinners, revolve around the salmon.

So, about the Private Reserve Rope Hung Smoked Salmon. Did a bit of research, and it appears this is indeed special stuff. Fillets are hand-cured with pure sea salt and fresh herbs, and then hand hung by ropes in a brick kiln. This process dries the salmon out more than regular smoking, and it creates only the best of smoked salmon. There are very few companies in the world producing salmon in this manner due to the high degree of labor involved.

Is it expensive? Yes. Is it absolutely the best smoked salmon I’ve ever had? Absolutely. This salmon is beyond good; a heady smoke, and it literally melts in your mouth.

Smoked Salmon Bagel

1 bagel, my favorite is an Everything bagel
1 egg
Thinly sliced red onion
Thinly sliced tomato
Softened cream cheese
3 slices of smoked salmon
Fresh Dill

Toast the bagel until golden brown.

In medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook the scrambled egg until just done. Remove from heat and set aside.

Spread softened cream cheese over the bottom half of the toasted bagel. Top cream cheese with scrambled egg, sliced tomato, red onion, smoked salmon and dill. Top with top of toasted bagel.

Hello Sunday Brunch.

Smoked Salmon Bagel

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Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon

During my recent trip to Seattle, I had a fantastic Cedar Plank Roasted Wild King Salmon at SeaStar in Bellevue. Absolutely had to create this at home, so I armed myself with a new cedar plank for roasting from Plank Cooking, John Howie’s Passion & Palate cookbook (chef/owner of SeaStar) and several rubs. I’ve tried this a couple of times and found I like Tom Douglas’ Salmon Rub with Love the best. Tom’s rub has a good amount of brown sugar, which caramelizes on the salmon during roasting and imparts a very subtle sweet hint to the fish.

I also use Faroe Island Salmon in this recipe instead of Wild King, as it’s in season. I get all of my fish and seafood from Clean Catch. They have the freshest fish in Charlotte, and work hard to provide their customers with the best sustainable, wild and free range fish available. The Faroe Islands are a small, remote group of islands in the Atlantic between Norway and Sweden. Fish represents more than 96% of their total export, and they are committed to sustainability. Their salmon thrive in strong, fresh currents in pristine waters with a steady sea temperature. Many praise this salmon as the highest quality Atlantic salmon.

Here’s my take on this delicious dish.

1 lb Faroe Island Salmon, thick cut
Tom Douglas’ Salmon Rub with Love (or rub of your choice), two tablespoons for a pound of salmon
1 lb button mushrooms, halved
1/2 Vidalia onion, wide slices
1/2 lb baby carrots, chopped in large chunks
1 lb Dutch Yellow baby potatoes, halved
Freshly Ground Pepper and Salt
Olive Oil

A day before, work the rub into the salmon and put it back into the refrigerator.

Prepare your plank; if it’s new, you should lightly brush it with olive oil. Heat the oven to 400 deg and move one of the racks to the second from the top position in your oven.

Chop the vegetables and add them to a bowl big enough to mix them easily. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables, and grind pepper and salt to taste. I also grind over a Thyme/Lemon spice mix I got at Trader Joe’s for an extra kick. Stir the vegetables to coat them with the olive oil and spices.

Place your salmon on the plank, and surround it with the vegetables.

Cedar Planked Salmon ready to go into the oven

Roast the salmon for 25-30 minutes, until it is done to your liking. Plank cooking takes a bit more time than regular roasting. Check the salmon 20 minutes in to make sure it’s to your taste. Enjoy!

All Things Seattle

I recently traveled to Seattle to attend an offsite for business. My mom was able to join me for the week, so it gave us some quality time together and see what Seattle has to offer. I have been to Seattle a number of times for business, and I love the Pacific Northwest. There is water everywhere around Seattle and it’s a really neat city.

Monday night we went out to dinner and had an amazing meal at SeaStar in Bellevue. Foodie that I am, I’ve resisted trying shucked oysters after an incident when I was younger. Wasn’t crazy about the texture. I figured since I was in Seattle, I’d give them another try. I ordered one Treasure Cove oyster on the half shell to try it. One slurp and I was sold, we each ordered a dozen Treasure Coves on the half shell. An exquisite start to our meal! The sommelier talked with us for a bit, and we decided on a somewhat local Pinot Gris, Adelsheim 2011. It turned out to be a very good compliment to our main meal of Cedar Planked Wild King Salmon, with Citrus Rice and Smoked Broccoli. The salmon was outstanding, best I’ve had in a number of years. If you love fish and seafood, I highly recommend SeaStar; I enjoyed this meal so much I brought my colleagues there on our last meal before flying out Friday night. It’s definitely pricey, but well worth it.

I attended the offsite four of the five weekdays I was there, but was able to take Thursday off and spend it with my mom. We started off our day at the Seattle Aquarium. The Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59 off Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle. It’s not as big as I thought it would be, but was a great experience. The Sea Otters were the thing I wanted to see the most, and they didn’t disappoint. Happily swimming around and playing with each other in their exhibit. This one guy was super active, and swam around in front of us most of the time we were watching them.

Sea Otter at the Seattle Aquarium

The reef exhibits were wonderful, full of vibrant fish and colors.

Reef at the Seattle Aquarium

Angel Fish at Seattle Aquarium

A kid at heart, I am always drawn to the ‘touch’ exhibits. The Boston Aquarium had a great one when I was there – baby stingrays. They feel just like velvet sliding under your fingers. The Seattle Aquarium had two major touch exhibits, they were both filled with starfish and anemones. The starfish were harder than I thought they would be, like running your finger over a pebbled surface.

Starfish at the Seattle Aquarium

The anemones were beautiful. I’ve never touched one before, they are velvety smooth and the tips of them grab your fingers in a soft way.

Anemone at Seattle Aquarium

Anemone at Seattle Aquarium

After our aquarium tour, we decided on Elliot’s Oyster House for lunch. More oysters! 🙂 They have a fantastic selection and we ordered a dozen to start. They have a dedicated shucker, and are serious about their oysters. Again a delicious start to our meal. I had the Halibut Fish and Chips, very good for a quick lunch selection.

Elliot's Oyster House Oyster Selection

We made our way to Pike Place Market after lunch. I’ve been there numerous times before, and it was a first for my mom. She loves open markets like this and we wandered around, buying things here and there for a couple of hours. I almost regretted already having lunch when we hit the Fish Market, as they had fresh crab and shrimp to go. The lobster tails they had for sale were huge!

Fish Market at Pike Place Market

Jumbo Lobster Tails at Pike Place Market

After the Market, we walked over to Totem Smokehouse to pick up some smoked Salmon to bring home. I first discovered a new appreciation for smoked salmon when I was staying at the Westin in Bellevue a month prior for another business trip. I ordered a Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict (actually it was called something else and I don’t remember the name). One of the best breakfast meals I’ve had – a whole wheat English muffin topped with wilted spinach, smoked Salmon, a poached egg and a citrus hollandaise. Room service this good?? Only at a Westin. I aim to create this one at home, look for a post coming soon. 🙂

Salmon Benedict at the Westin in Bellevue

My mom and I rounded out our day with dinner at Wild Ginger in Bellevue. Another one of those ‘must eat here’ restaurants when in town. We started with the Hanoi Spring Rolls and a special appetizer – Bacon Wrapped Grilled Oysters (yes, I made an exception and actually ate the bacon). The oysters were divine. I am convinced some day I should move to the Pacific Northwest just for oyster season. My mom ordered Pad Thai for a main, and I ordered the Wok Fried Barbeque Prawns. These were delicious. Huge prawns in a somewhat spicy Asian BBQ sauce over Jasmine Rice. And did I tell you about the drink? I had three of these! Their Cracked Coconut Martini is a semi-sweet explosion of creamy wonderfulness. A frozen martini of pineapple rum, muddled lime and coconut. Overall a very tasty close to my day together with my mom.

Seattle has a lot to offer. Explore it.