Growing up I was incredibly spoiled when it came to eating seafood. Mom’s family lived on the Eastern Shore and her uncle was a commercial fisherman. If we didn’t catch it, we didn’t eat it. Even oysters, clams and crabs were something we only ever ate visiting mom’s family. Sometimes Uncle H. would drop off part of the day’s catch on grandma’s front porch and that was dinner. Other times, Granddaddy and daddy would take us out to fish on granddaddy’s little boat. Granddaddy knew where to go, and there were days where I would get 4 or 5 fish in the boat before poor dad and granddaddy got their hooks baited. Sometimes the whole family would go out on Uncle H’s boat and we’d have a day in the sun catching dozens of fish.
As I grew up and didn’t make it down to the shore as often I tried eating shellfish in restaurants. But nothing was really ever as good as I remember. And I’m picky about how it’s prepared. Fried fish? That’s something you do to hide bad fish. Cooking was simple: fresh filets of trout dredged in flour and pan fried; oysters chopped finely and mixed with enough flour to hold it together and fried; blue crabs steamed with old bay and served with heavily peppered cider vinegar. Most restaurant fish just wasn’t that good, and it was over-prepared to my taste.
This summer, though, I’m enjoying salmon season. Early reports are this is the best start of the salmon season and the fish I’ve been buying from the farmer’s market has been amazing.
As I was taught by grandma, I’m cooking it really simply. The other day it was filets seared in the cast iron skillet with a small amount of salt and pepper. Tonight, though, Steve found a simple glaze for the salmon. The glaze actually enhanced the flavor and made the fish even better.
It’s not the blue crab or fresh flounder of my youth. But west coast fauna are different so I just need to adapt to the local cuisine. It is very yummy fish, though, and I don’t even mind paying market rate for it. Well, OK, I kinda do, but I think it’s actually worth it.