Recipes for Salmon

Ken Jones

Staff member
McClane’s Fish Buyer’s Guide: King (Chinook) Salmon — (A) Flavor: moderate (B) Texture: firm (C) Flake: small (D) Fat Content: high (E) Odor (Raw): mild (F) Color after Cooking: red (G) Cooking Methods: all methods

Although pier-caught salmon are few and far between, they are an occasional catch at almost every oceanfront pier from Monterey north. One pier, the pier at Pacifica, sees a few every year and has had "famous" years when salmon showed up in numbers heavy enough (in the thousands) to make the news throughout the nation. Of course salmon returning upstream through the Carquinez Strait and West Delta are also available on the piers in that area (the discolored salmon mentioned below). My most recent salmon was one I caught at the B Street Pier in Crescent City. The only problem was that it was a silver salmon and the species is now illegal to keep so back it went into the water. But salmon is a healty food to eat and whether you catch it yourself or buy it you should know how to cook it.

Date: July 21, 2004
To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: What's your best recipe for king salmon?

Posted by snookie

Our favorite way to fix King Salmon is to marinate it for 30 minutes in a mixture of Bernsteins Italian Dressing and olive oil. Use a one to one mixture. The barbeque is next. Just don't overcook it. A little salt and pepper and it is ready to eat. There is a little place on the beach in Trinidad, California, that does it this way and showed us how years ago. Snookie

Posted by Jim Babwe

This one is a little weird and some people are put off by it. Try it and you will almost certainly like it.

Put salmon fillets or steaks into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with a little salt. Then cover the top of the fish with about 1/4 inch of Miracle Whip, some lemon slices and sliced red onion. Cover and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 5 mins. I serve this with angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and capers. A very easy, elegant and tasty meal. Just don't tell your dinner guests about the Miracle Whip.
P.S. — Do not substitute mayo for the miracle whip — you need the tang.

Posted by eelmaster

Dude, I have heard about this and I must say, I am put off. hehe. Seriously, it sounds crazy. But every one that has told me about it, claims it to be the ONLY way to cook salmon. I have to bite the bullet and try it. Monte

Posted by pescare

I'm certain that is illegal as should be anything involving Miracle Whip!

Posted by StripeSideChaser

Who thought that up? Who would think "gee, I bet this salmon would be good with some Miracle Whip on it!"? I've heard of, just haven't been able to bring myself to try it.

Posted Kaleo

Sounds like a variation on a Pacific Islander thing. I have friends from Guam and Tonga who do tuna baked with mayonaise and onions... not bad. I'm guessing that the mayo idea was originally tried as a substitute for the coconut cream fish dish. Kaleo
Subject: Re: who thought that up?

Posted by Jim Babwe

I got the recipe from a friend of mine's mother who is a serious gourmet cook. She was reluctant to tell me what it was as I went on and on about how good it was. The Miracle Whip thing never really bothered me. I'll try anything once. My food motto is that I have not tasted my favorite dish yet. Amazing what you can find to eat if you keep an open mind. All of you doubters will not doubt once you try this.

Posted by pierhead

Miracle Whip is to mayonnaise as spam is to ham! But individual tastes vary :) Pierhead, Proud Supporter of UPSAC

Posted by StripeSideChaser

I like to keep salmon simple — baste fillets with extra virgin olive oil, place in fish basket, sprinkle with dill, and cook on the bbq. As snookie says "don't overcook!" I fish, therefore I lie!

Posted by 2d

The only salmon I eat — Slice filets into two inch wide pieces, salt and pepper. Put two cups soy sauce, 1/2 cup sugar and the juice from two lemons in a pot. Heat to melt the sugar. add four or five slices of crushed (not grated) fresh ginger. When the liquid is just about boiling, but not quite, place the salmon in and braise. about ten to fifteen minutes. Other than that, the only salmon I eat is canned sockeye. Don't even ask

Posted by tomaurand

Smoked.. I like to smoke portions of my salmon in my electric smoker with alder wood and a little hickory. Very good. For my brine I use kosher salt/sugar, brown sugar, ground pepper, red chili flakes, Tabasco sauce, garlic, salt, and onion powder. I mix all ingredients to fit my taste. Brine for 2-6 hours, rinse off salmon with cold water, pat dry and let rest for about 1/2-1 hour. Place in smoker until finished. The beauty is you can use the smoked salmon with everything from mixing with eggs to crepes, and even the good ol cream cheese and bagles thing. It also goes great with any cold beverage as a snack. Tom, Proud supporter of UPSAC

Posted by tranbaby2

Season fillets with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, cover it all with a coating (both sides) of fresh chopped dill and garlic. Drizzle olive oil to coat. Wrap it up in aluminum foil to marinate in refrigerator 3 hrs or overnight. Then place in 350 degree oven for 20-30 mins and enjoy. It's one of the most tender salmon I have ever tasted. Either bake it or grill it, tastes great. Oooh, and then there's Gravlax!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Kaleo

1.5 inch-thick steaks grilled and basted with a hamma-jamma teri sauce. First thing: clean and oil the grill real good. For the teri sauce, I cheat. I start with Kikkoman teri, then add lots of fresh chopped garlic, fresh ginger, chopped green onions, sesame oil, sesame seeds, black pepper, a little honey, and a shot of scotch whiskey. I briefly dunk the steaks to start, then baste them as they're on the grill. The idea is not to permeate the meat, just to make a caramelized, garlic-ginger crust on the outside of the fish. Like everybody else said, don't overcook.
Best served with: Anchor Steam and day-old poi or good sourdough bread (like Acme Bakery) or rice and kim chee
Glossary — hamma-jamma: so much stuff you gotta jam em in wit one hamma. day-old poi; jes enough sour foa make your Auntie wen like em; kim chee: proof dat God no cayah about your breath. I also like to cut salmon into small cubes and deep fry with skin on lightly coated with corn meal. Kaleo

Posted by 1014

Mmmm ono! My cousin wen just go boat and wen hook two salmon, one of um he give my madda an den she wen soak um shoyu and green onions, peppah, and other stuffs 15 minutes den we wen hibachi um hot flame. no mo' poi but had rice good enough. expensive poi mix ah mainland? plus my dad wen make kalbi too, so we wen grind real good. my odda cousin wen just come back from hawai'i an wen bring tako and ahi poke so we going gamble tonight and suck um up an den eat da rest. shootz...

Posted by das limpet

My "secret" recipe — Go to a middle eastern deli/supermarket like Indus Foods on San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, and buy a packet of Shan spice mix for like $0.79-0.89. I usually get Korma or Pasanda Curry mixes. The curries are a little sweeter than some of the other spices which are just plain hot. Sprinkle some on your salmon steak and rub it in so that it mixes with the moisture of the fish. Usually half a tablespoon is enough to adequately season it. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until done. It's easy and tastes fantastic.
Subject: Re: What's your best recipe for king salmon?

Posted by dompfa ben

Prepare about two cups of white rice. Season with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar. Allow to cool in refrigerator. Cut thin slices of salmon, across the grain of the flesh, about three inches long and one inch wide. Wet your hand. Pick up a small amount of the cooled rice, and create a little pillow about 2 inches long, one inch wide, and one inch tall. Place the salmon slice on top of the rice pillow, then sprinkle some finely sliced green onion on top of the salmon. Serve with soy sauce, fresh wasabi, thin sliced lemon wedges and some sliced, pickled ginger. This is the only way to eat salmon as far as I am concerned :) Ripple in still water. When there is no pebble tossed, nor wind to blow. -The Grateful Dead

Note that you might consider freezing the salmon for a few days first to eliminate any parasites.

Posted by zak

Is it OK to eat it raw??? I'm a big sushi fan and catching my first salmon this year, I was thinking about trying it but wasn't sure so I had one sashimi slice and cooked the rest. Did some search on a Japanese web page and it did say to freeze it for a while to kill parasites. If we freeze it, will it be safe enough to eat it?

Posted by dompfa ben

Freeze it solid for a few days...I believe most parasites will be killed by freezing the meat solid. There is a great deal of information on the internet if you search for fish parasites, sashimi grade fish, and sushi as topics.

Posted by 2quickfish

I have two recipes.

First one is a secret one given to me by one of my neighbors using Fish Fry frying mix, with butter cream, and a Punjabi curry I get from the local Indian place in town (1 packet of fish fry to 1.5 cups of butter cream, to 1 TSb of curry). Mix all ingredients together. Cut salmon into 1 inch strips and and marinate for about 2 hours. Then heat pan half full of oil to about 370 and make sure each piece of fish is evenly coated with mixture and fry. Somehow it makes a very thin crust that seems to lock the moisture in.

Second is using Cold Pressed Extra virgin Olive oil with kosher salt, pepper, Fresh chopped garlic ( 3 TSB per pound of fish, Fresh oregano, and Basil with some Lime juice. 1/2 cup oil to 3/4 TSB of salt, 3/4 TSP of pepper, Garlic, Oregano and Basil is same measurement of Garlic and this is per pound of fish. Let marinate for at least 2 hours. Barbecue on skin side down with indirect heat technique on Charcoal grill with a small piece of Oak for flavor. Do this for about 45 to 1 hr for about 4 lbs of fish. about every 15 to 20 min add left over marinade making sure the last marinade is about 10 to 15 minutes before you take off grill(just for food safety).

Posted by ginkoz

Salmon soup — Have you guys tried soup made from a salmon head? I think most of you probably throw away the head. It can become some very good soup. You need a few salmon heads if you going to boil a big pot, a package of sealed tofu, and some ginger slices. Put all of them into a pot that fill it with water. After the water is boiling, turn down the fire but keep the soup with a little boil. Usually, it took a few hours. When the soup turn into milkish color, it is done. Before serving, pour in some pepper to reduce the fishy smell.

Posted by hookedtook

Bbq'ed on cedar plank

Posted by alabama

Salmon on a shingle...of course. Soak a cedar shingle in water...cover salmon fillet in your favorite mustard and brown shingle in center of ring of coals and place salmon on shingle and cook till brown sugar melts...simply fine!

Posted by thecrw

Discolored Salmon [salmon going up river] — From what I understand, the discolored salmon (more brown then chrome) are the ones dying. Does the meat taste much different. I heard it was mushier and only good for smoking. Are there other methods to prepare the discolored salmon? I'm checking the usual spots this week (though on a yak) and am wondering if I should let the brown ones go. ~Elric aka TheCrw

Posted by fishnchips

Discolored Salmon — I think the brown/dark red ones would be found further upstream than in the bays. It comes from all of the stress of swimming upstream, fighting with other males...that sort of thing. In my experience, most are found up a ways in the rivers and smaller bodies of water. Those ones also die before coming back out to the ocean, if I'm not mistaken. I've always been told to let those ones go..... that's why they call it fishin' not catchin'...... good ol' fishnchips!

Posted by prometheus

Discolored Salmon — Nothing wrong with smoking the salmon. I pulled an old fillet out of my freezer and decided to give the smoking thing a try a few weeks ago. I just followed a random brine recipie and put it on one side of my propane grill, with a foil wrapped bunch of moistened hickory on the other side and turned both burners on as low as they'd go. (I actually had the switch turned almost to the off position, PAST 'low', to get tiny flames) 4 hours and 2 hickory foils later I had bombastic smoked salmon. I'd like to note that smoked fish tastes horrible when it just comes out and is still warm. I thought it was an unqualified disaster until I pulled a piece out of the fridge the next day. In fact, it seemed to get better as it aged and the smoke and brine flavors soaked deeper into the meat. Right off the grill the surface of the fish would practically burn your tounge with the smoky tang. Yesterday I smoked some rockfish, cabby, and lingcod pieces. I added olive oil to the brine to moisten them up a bit. It actually tasted better than the salmon did right off the grill, though a bit dry still. I may have to paint them with some butter sauce or something to help out with that. The great thing about smoking the fish is you can do a whole lot, then eat it over a week or so as snacks. I don't know of any other way to cook fish that you'd want to eat it in this fashion.

Posted by prometheus

Lockpro's (IN) famous smoked salmon.

• Filets from one large or two medium Salmon. (Scaled of course). Cut in strips 2" wide.
• Brine: 2 cups soy sauce.
• 1 cup white wine.
• Tablespoon or 2 of Worcestershire sauce.
• 4 cloves garlic, crushed.
• 1⁄2 white onion chopped fine.
• 2 tablespoons cyanine pepper (or more).
• 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper.
• 2-2-1/2 cups dark brown sugar.
• 1⁄2 cup Kosher (De-ionized) salt.
• Dash or three of Tabasco (Hell, whole bottle if you like! ;)

• Add all of this to a pan over low heat and simmer to meld the flavors and melt the sugar, stirring often. Once the sugar is melted, kill the heat and add a tray of ice cubes.
• Lay the fillets meat side up in a two-piece marinade and cover with the COOLED brine. Stick this in a fridge or ice chest, turning every few hours. Marinade overnight.
• Now, at this point, some say to rinse the fillets. I don't! I lay them out on the racks, thick go on lower racks, thinner go on upper racks. At this point I spread fresh ground pepper over the fillets.
• Three pans of chips will give all the flavor you are going to get. If it's cold or windy, I'll take the box my smoker came in and put it over it to contain the heat and smoke. I average 10-14 hours with a Little Chef smoker.

Posted by prometheus

Salmon Balls with Lemon Mustard Sauce

• 1 can (7 and 3/4 ounces) salmon
• Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
• 1/2 cup crushed cracker crumbs
• 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
• 1 egg, slightly beaten
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons salad oil
• Cooked large shell macaroni
• Lemon mustard sauce
• Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish

• Drain and flake salmon, reserving liquid for sauce. Combine salmon, lemon juice, cracker crumbs, green onions, egg and pepper. Shape firmly into 8 balls. In skillet, brown salmon balls well in skillet. Serve over cooked shell macaroni topped with lemon mustard sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Makes 2 servings.

Lemon Mustard Sauce
• Water
• 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Generous dash pepper
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• Grated peel of 1/2 fresh lemon
• 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

Add water to reserved salmon liquid to equal 3/4 cup. In small saucepan, melt butter or margarine, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually blend in liquid. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat; blend in mayonnaise, lemon peel and mustard. Makes about 1 cup.

Posted by gyozadude on August 20, 2007

Recipe for smoked salmon — With all the salmon fillets I generated up in B.C. I bought a smoker and started playing around with recipes. I got some tips from a neighbor who does a lot of smoking during this time of year to give away to friends and family.

Smoked Salmon


• salmon filets w/ skin scaled but still on
• brown sugar
• soy sauce
• sea salt
• white wine


For each pair of fillets (about 4 lbs of meat), use about 1.5 cups of brown sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 tablespoons sea salt, 1 cup of white wine. Time is our friend. I pat-dry filets with a clean paper towel, then stick them into a large Ziploc. If you do a lot, get some small commercial marinating bins that are 18 inches long and 12 inches wide, with lid, like at Smart n Final or a restaurant supply store. I add all brown sugar, soy, wine and salt into the same container, mix by hand, make sure at least the meat side is face down in the marinade and seal. I put the bag or container into the frige for 24 hours at least, 48 is better (especially if you cold smoke) and turn the fillets at least once while in the fridge.

When fillets are ready, you can either hot smoke or cold smoke them. Hot smoking is great for people who like it cooked mostly and soft, flaky. If you like it more rare and translucent, like lox, then you can also cold smoke it. I use an electric smoker with digital thermostat. But it was the only electric I could buy on short notice up there and it was a hot-smoking unit with single heating element. Try to get one with two elements, one for an external side-burner/smoke generator, and another one for the main smoking compartment and this can both hot- and cold-smoke meats. Bradley is a brand name that comes highly recommended by my neighbor as far as smokers go. Some units have automatic feed for wood pellets and digital timers and temp controls. Reminder: smoke contains carbon-monoxide and other obnoxious fumes so this is an outdoor venue.

I recommend taking the smoking racks out and spraying with non-stick vegetable oil spray or rubbing the grill with some butter and then laying the filets skin side down on the racks. Follow directions on your smoker to load smoke chips. Some require soaking the wood chips in water. Some electrics with a loading tube or auto-feeder unit will use dry chips or custom "pellets" and generate very nice flavored smoke.

For hot smoked salmon, 120 - 140 deg F for 2 - 2.5 hours makes a fantastic smoked fish that isn't over done. Thicker and bigger slabs require long smoke times. For cold smoke, no heat is applied, and my neighbor, who has a unit with external smoke generator connected to the main smoking chamber with a pipe, applies smoke for 8 hours while keeping a tray of standing water in the main chamber. A typical wood ship load lasts about 2 - 2.5 hours and then you need to add more. The auto-feed feature on smoke electric smokers is nice because it can continuously feed. My unit was cheap but it had a very convenient side loading mechanism that let me add more chips quickly without opening the main unit.

After letting the fillets rest and drain a bit, I vacuum pack them using long, heat-sealed bags. These will keep well in the freezer and taste great thawed and cold.

I didn't have a chance to try to make my own cold smoked salmon, but the hot smoked ones came out just great. My neighbor gave me some of his lox and it was fantastic too.

I have both hickory and mesquite and alderwood chips. They each have much different flavors and I bet smoked striper or halibut served warm might also be awesome.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: October 28, 2019
To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Old Fashioned Salmon Patties

This is like what my mom used to make. Not fresh but still good — in my opinion.

Old Fashioned Salmon Patties


6 oz. can skinless/boneless pink salmon, drained
2 T. diced onion
good pinch each of salt and pepper
1 large egg
1 T. buttermilk
2 T. cornmeal
4 T. all purpose flour
Veg. oil for frying


In a bowl, combine the salmon, onion, salt and pepper. Stir in the egg, buttermilk, cornmeal and flour. Combine well. Heat about 1/4″ oil in the bottom of a med. size iron skillet over med. high heat. Drop spoonfuls of the salmon mixture into the hot oil and flatten out just a tad. Fry, in batches, about a minute per side or until golden brown. Drain on a paper sack or paper towel lined plate. Makes 10 patties.

Borrowed from Cook Heavenly Recipes —