Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

August 29, 2013

The challenge of salmon

TRAVERSE CITY — So you've hooked and landed enough salmon on the lake and in local rivers to pack a six-foot-long chest freezer.

But what do you do with the slabs of orange fish once you tire of your tried-and-true grilled cedar plank salmon recipe?

Area fishermen have gotten pretty creative when it comes to trying new things with their catch, some going as far as canning their salmon, said Rick Lipinski, a fishing department salesman at MC Sports.

Most fishermen claim to have the best preparation for fresh-caught salmon, something Lipinski says he takes advantage of frequently when he hears them bragging at the store.

"I tell them to bring me some," he said Monday afternoon with a grin.

The 16-year-veteran of the sporting goods store said the catch has begun to heat up on Lake Michigan as well as on some area rivers. The quality of running salmon on rivers can vary, especially near the end of the season. But those who get there early can catch plenty of good fish, he said.

Karen ZanDusen, who owns Reel Fun Fishing Charters with her husband John, has had plenty of practice cooking salmon during the years.

"Of course it's all personal taste," ZanDusen said.

But, she's has as much experience as anybody at cooking the orange-fleshed game fish.

Everybody has a different technique for preparing salmon properly, so here are a few tips and tricks.

Poor man's lobster

A few years ago, ZanDusen began making a recipe her daughter passed along dubbed "poor man's lobster."

The dish involves boiling portions of salmon in a saltwater bath, then flaking it into a small amount of melted butter.

"It's not real attractive, but it tastes wonderful," she said. "Frankly, when I'm at home I'm going for flavor."

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