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Saliva Inducing Copper River Sockeye Salmon

Courtesy of The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association

Living in Seattle has turned me into such a Salmon snob that I won’t order it outside of Seattle. I now cringe when the words Atlantic salmon cross a waiter’s lips. I’m even persnickety when it comes to the type of salmon on offer. That’s right, I’ve become a bitchy salmon elitist.

Right now I’m in heaven because the Copper River Salmon run has begun.

The salmon that traverse the Copper River must travel distances of up to 300 miles to reach their spawning grounds, making Copper River Salmon especially fatty and full of heart-healthy Omega-3s. The extra fat is one of the things that makes Copper River Salmon special and especially tasty.

My favorite of the types on offer – King, Sockeye and Coho – is the Copper River Sockeye, a deep red fish with a rich and slightly nutty flavor, and the firmest flesh of all Alaskan salmon. When I discovered the Copper River run was open, I hustled to the market and purchased nearly 2 pounds. A bit excessive for a dinner for just me and Jim, but I plan on making salmon salad for lunch with the leftovers.

A simple preparation is optimal to savor Copper River Sockeye’s distinct taste.

Cedar Plank Copper River Sockeye 

  • 2 lbs Copper River Sockeye fillet
  • Olive Oil
  • Cedar Plank (forget the fancy planks, we go to Lowes or Home Depot at the beginning of grilling season, buy a cedar 2×4 or two and chop them into planks for the grill).

Start your grill. I prefer coal grills and let the coals cook down to a medium heat. Rub the salmon with olive oil. Place flesh down on the cedar plank and place on the grill. 

After 12 minutes flip the salmon over so it is skin side down. Grill until the salmon is translucent in the center (approximately 10-15 additional minutes).

Serve with lemon or herb butter. Serves 4.

Basil Butter

  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • Fresh cut or dried basil about 2 tablespoons dried, 4 tablespoons fresh.

Melt butter, add herbs and let simmer on low for 1-2 minutes. Pour over salmon to taste.

To find out where to buy or dine on Copper River Salmon in Seattle, please check out my article on Examiner.com.

Copper River Salmon on Foodista


6 Responses

  1. Yum! We had some Copper River Sockeye a couple weeks ago and am hoping to pick some up again for tonight!

  2. Love me some salmon! You are blessed to have such abundance of this outstanding fish source so close to home.

    Bon appetit!

  3. Gorgeous salmon dish! I remember having salmon steaks as a teen during the year we lived in Vancouver…best salmon I’ve ever tasted 🙂

  4. Can’t go wrong with salmon! I loved it when we went on our Alaskan cruise (out of Seattle of course) and now try to buy only the wild Alaskan varieties when I can get them. Grilling it is the best method of cooking for me.


  5. It’s nice when cooks Outside pick up on the fact that Alaska salmon – and Copper River salmon, in particular – is a very special fish.

    Alaska salmon isn’t just for restaurants anymore. It’s time to get your fish on!

  6. There’s a restaurant here – Palomino – that gets it’s salmon from Copper River. Or so they say! It’s pretty tasty though and I am a salmon snob.

    I love the simplicity of this recipe. It looks delicious!

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