Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The King Of Salmon Is Ivory

It's early spring, the Mahi are on the move, Alaskan halibut and sable have started showing up, crabs are stirring in the Chesapeake and, wouldn't you know it, we just received our first Ivory King salmon of the year.  It's definitely early in the season but as you know the beginning of the season is where you find some of the tastiest fish.  Copper River hasn't opened just yet but we have received a small delivery of Ivories from Sitka Sound, Alaska courtesy of skipper Jeff Hochstein of the fishing vessel Pacific Sun.

The Ivory King salmon is quite a unique fish.  I have previously posted on its merits and scarcity and encourage anyone buying wild salmon this year to try the Ivory.  Only the king salmon species can be ivory, a condition that results from a natural mutation.  Ivory salmon is rare in the wild; only a small percentage of fish carry the gene and historically the fish were seen as inferior.  Unfortunately, today's chefs have gotten much smarter and the fish are in much higher demand.  I have seen the price of ivory salmon triple over the last 5 years, and rightfully so.  Ivory salmon do not have a strong salmon flavor, like normal kings do.  Instead their white flesh is buttery, almost nutty, with rich oils and a mild, savory finish.  It's a different experience from dining on your typical salmon, almost feeling like you are eating a different species.  The flesh nonetheless is par excellence and for my taste buds the ivory kings are at the top of the salmon spectrum.

The Pacific Sun landed the troll caught ivories on Tuesday and we were fortunate enough to have them FedExed to us on Wednesday - talk about dock to door!  Trolling is a type of hook and line fishery that is sustainable with little by-catch.  We were only able to snag two fish, and price is always at a premium in the early runs of the season, but if you ask me or anyone else who's tried the ivory salmon, any trouble is well worth it.  So here's to the king of king salmon, just in time for the queen of your castle.  Happy Mother's Day!       

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