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Alaskan Salmon Recipes from Chef Hugh ("Hughie") Kearnley

Hugh Kearnley (July 23, 1951- September 14, 2007), affectionately known as Shuggie, a citizen of Glasgow, Scotland, suffered from type 2 diabetes and heart disease before finding at age 55 that he had advanced prostate cancer metastatic to his bones. For too brief a time Hugh was a beloved contributor to alt-support-cancer-prostate/. Medicine is slow and grudging, Hughie was desperately ill and in pain, he had no time to lose. By all accounts, including his own vivid prose, Hugh was a fighter and simultaneously a chef, sport fisherman, novelist (he sent me a chapter) and a composer of sacred music for the organ. His description of the death of a friend in battle is on usenet. Hugh loved his son, his dog ("wee Tiger") and his friends.

Hugh's account of a triumphant combat in February 2oo7 shows how he stepped up to the line. Reminds me of an episode in Breaking Bad in which Walt, a school teacher with lung cancer, stomps on a group of teenagers bullying his son, who has cerebral palsy. Walking through a park on his way home from picking up medicine at a pharmacy, hobbling from a broken toe, Hugh, sent flying by a teenager on a bycycle, laid about him with his crutch. As for age, he wrote: " In any case - I'd like to be as old as I can be before - you know... Moving on, as it were." Vividly all the way.

When Hugh Kearnley caught a whiff of my prosaic, penny-pinching notes on canned salmon (below) he emailed from Glasgow with his own lively recommendations. I had no idea he would be gone so soon. Hugh wrote:

Raw salmon in sushi; photo by quilI avoid like the plague ALL salmon produced this side of the pond, and buy Wild Alaskan Salmon for myself - £5 for two good portions and you only need to eat two portions a week. I don't grudge it, I live fairly economically otherwise. Some days I'll just wipe it clean, slice it wafer thin and eat it raw, wrapped in lettuce with any old mix of dips I fancy.

I quite like that with a tomato-chili salsa. Other days - maybe cut it in matchsticks and steam it for just 1 minute, then mix through boiled rice with peas, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc. I don't fry anything at all now. I quite like the slippery sensation of steamed salmon skin on the tongue! Feels sorta - sexy?

OK - TINNED salmon - I do buy the cheaper Wild Pink Salmon too. As long as the can says "WILD" it's fine. Perfect for slipping out of the can, drained and on a bed of mixed salad stuff and pour Garlic Mayo on top (I use an eggless Olive oil Mayo -- not quite great but good enough). That with crusty bread.

If you have any farmed salmon left - throw it in the bin or feed it to cats or dogs. Farmed not only has higher levels of pollutants, but because of the feed, SIX times and more the Omega-6 content - a no-no for prostate cancer.

The can juices - I drink from the can with a dash of Tabasco! I LOVE the can juices! I also eat the skin and the lovely soft bones - full of calcium ... For sandwiches, simply fork the flesh down with vinegar, pepper & salt to taste. I sometimes add equal parts orange juice and vinegar. Sometimes lime or lemon juice, sometimes a sweet chili dipping sauce, or for more bite, Tabasco or any hot pepper sauce. The more moist it is, the more deliciously delectable!

I'm fond of canned salmon on a pizza as extra topping, in scrambled eggs,
mixed with cold rice as a snack meal, and warmed and coated with Parsley Sauce served with tiny new season potatoes and broccoli. Chopped into a Carbonara sauce instead of bacon, and poured into slightly undercooked pasta shells - cheese on top and under the grill for 5 minutes.

Another quite tasty thing is a frittata stuffed with chopped canned salmon and wilted courgette dice - using some of the can juices to make the savoury custard. Eat that cold or on the run for breakfast or an "all-day-grazing" type snack. (Frittata is a sort of quiche without pastry - almost a cold omelet, but I make mine without yolks and use soy milk instead of dairy, the soy milk gives it a sort of slightly sweet caramel flavour that goes very well with the saltiness of the salmon.

avocadoTry mixing crushed canned salmon that's highly seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and orange juice into a sauce, and serve it with sliced or half avocados. The bits of soft bone add an interesting light crunchy texture - like peanut butter with "bits" in it. The same "sauce" used as a dip, for thin trimmed & stringed celery ribs as a snack for TV. (With chillies added, a great dip for Nachos!)

Finally - try mixing an equal amount of well-drained canned salmon with an equal amount of DRY mashed potatoes - that is just mashed - NO butter and NO milk. Season well, mix in some chopped parsley and a few finely chopped chillies, while still slightly warm, form into little patties, then flour them, dip in a flour and water thin cream, then into fresh breadcrumbs and reform. Chill down and DRY-FRY gently or bake in a moderately hot oven just enough to lightly brown the crumb coating. Serve with - whatever you like, but certainly lots of ketchup.

Canned Wild Salmon for Thrifty Omega-3s

June 14, 2007 . Wild Alaskan salmon is available all over the USA canned. Not so fancy as fresh salmon, nor so ethnic as pickled herring (a fairly good source of Omega-3 oils). and it usually has added salt (as does smoked salmon). But canned salmon from Alaska -- as long as it's "caught wild" -- is a good, currently pollutant-free, low-cost source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Actually, canned salmon has more of these healthy marine fatty acids per serving than cooked fresh salmon, according to this health site at Tufts.

Canned PINK Alaska salmon is almost as high in omega-3s as choice grade canned red. In the USA, you can usually buy wild pink Alaskan salmon for around $3.00 per 14.75 oz (418 g) can, half the price of red (Sockeye). From time to time, pink wild Alaska goes on sale for under $2.00 a can. Another standard size is 7.5 oz.

salmon, cannedThe labels claim: "Naturally contains about 1000 mg omega 3 fatty acids per serving." A serving is reckoned as quarter cup, or 63 g -- 7 servings per can. I think this is an overestimate. I get just 3 or 4 servings per can, yielding an intake of double the labeled amount of fatty acids per serving.

For some people, canned salmon is less attractive than canned tuna because it comes, typically -- the real deal -- with the skin and the bones. If you're not expecting this you can adapt, although maybe some people never do. If you're put off, just remember, the skin's high in the nutritious fats and the bones contain calcium without junk like growth factors. Mashing with a fork and seasoning well make all the difference.

Red or Pink Alaska Salmon Spread

Chill in the can, then mash the contents in a bowl - skin and bones and all - with a fork (or use a blender) adding lemon or lime juice or a little vinegar (red wine, balsamic or apple cider) to taste. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a dash of mustard and/or horseradish, some ground pepper, capers, no added salt. If reckless, add mayonnaise.

Some of the omega-3s are in the packing juice. To make a satisfactory spread, I drain off some of this juice. Add the juice to something else nutritious -- soup, sauce, a spicy tomato cocktail.

I like this salmon-spread on whole grain rye crackers with radishes, celery, cucumber or scallions (spring onions) on the side. Or use any of those in a salad with tomatoes, romaine, watercress or arugala if available and heap the salmon on top, or add a couple of hardboiled egg whites stuffed with the salmon. Makes a simple, high-protein power lunch.

Kosher brands including salt-free are available, such as Crown Prince Natural Alaskan Pink Salmon, No Salt Added, 7.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)

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Editor, J. Strax. Page last modified December 04, 2008.

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