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Chinook fishing continues to provide anglers with fair autumn catches in the San Juan Islands and throughout the Columbia River and its open tributaries.

This week, AQUA by El Gaucho executive chef Wesley Hood shares a fall-themed chinook recipe that will have your dinner guests yearning for more.

Exectutive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho in Pier 70 in Seattle. Photo courtesy of El Gaucho Restaurants.
Exectutive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho in Pier 70 in Seattle. Photo courtesy of El Gaucho Restaurants.

Hood along with chef and partner Ken Sharp of AQUA by El Gaucho in Seattle, executive chef Jesus Boites of El Gaucho in Tacoma, executive chef Sarah Scott of El Gaucho in Bellevue have been contributing many delicious recipes for the Reel Time Northwest Fishing blog. Each of recipe will be related to the “catch” of the week.

Hood has a passion for food and cooking that began at age 15. In 2000, he arrived in Seattle and worked full-time at the Meridian Restaurant and Classic Catering. Since then, he has spent time in the kitchens at Palisade Restaurant, Elliott’s Oyster House and Union Square Grill, before joining El Gaucho.

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Chinook Salmon with Lavender Beurre Blanc and Lobster Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS FOR SALMON

Photo of grilled salmon courtesy of AQUA by El Gaucho.
Photo of grilled salmon courtesy of AQUA by El Gaucho.

8 ounces of lobster mushrooms, sliced thinly (We’re approaching golden chanterelle season which would be a nice substitute if lobsters are unavailable)

One small bunch of mustard greens

One teaspoon of fresh minced garlic

Two teaspoons of fresh minced shallots (plus more for the sauce recipe below)

Three tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Two tablespoons of white wine

Two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Four each of chinook salmon, 8-ounce portions, skin and pin bones removed, lightly oiled and seasoned

One cup of lavender Beurre Blanc (recipe follows below)

Photo of George Harris with a nice Tillamook Bay king.
Photo of George Harris with a nice Tillamook Bay king.

INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE

Two tablespoons of shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

One pinch cracked black pepper

1/2 cup of white wine

1.5 tablespoons of champagne vinegar

Three fluid ounces of heavy whipping cream

Two sprigs of fresh lavender

DIRECTIONS

Brush off any soil or debris from the mushrooms, do not rinse with water. Slice them thinly.

Wash and de-stem the mustard greens. Cut them into 1-inch squares.

Mince the shallot and garlic.

Slice the shallot for the sauce.

Organize all of your ingredients.

Photo of Tegan Yuasa with a 13 pound hatchery resident chinook caught in San Juan Islands. Photo by Mark Yuasa.
Photo of Tegan Yuasa with a 13 pound hatchery resident chinook caught in San Juan Islands. Photo by Mark Yuasa.

DIRECTIONS FOR LAVENDER BEURRE BLANC

Roughly chop the shallot.

Place shallot, peppercorn, wine and vinegar in a thick bottomed pot and reduce until about two tablespoons are remaining.

Add the heavy cream and reduce everything to about two fluid ounces (2/3 of original volume).

Add chunks of cold butter a little at a time while whisking to emulsify.

Add the whole lavender sprigs and allow them to steep in the liquid (stir it occasionally) for ten minutes. You should place the pan off the heat but in a warm area.

(Note: If the sauce gets cold and is rewarmed, this will break the emulsion.)

Season with Kosher salt.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

Hold warm for service.

Photo of grilled salmon courtesy of AQUA by El Gaucho.
Photo of grilled salmon courtesy of AQUA by El Gaucho.

DIRECTIONS FOR MUSHROOMS

Lobster mushrooms are dense and require a little longer of a cook time than other mushrooms.

Heat a saute pan with olive oil until the oil is almost smoking. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and move them around until they are in a single layer across the bottom of the pan.

Sear them for about two minutes to get a little color before tossing.

Add a pinch of the minced shallot and sweat.

Add a pinch of minced garlic and sweat, but take care not to brown or burn the garlic, deglaze with an ounce of white wine.

Set aside in a warm place.

DIRECTIONS FOR GRILLED SALMON

(Grilling information comes courtesy of El Gaucho Chef Ken Sharp)

One a hot grill, place skin side down for three to four minutes, turn over and continue grilling for three minutes for medium 130 degrees.

DIRECTIONS FOR GREEN

Again heat a very large pan or stainless steel bowl with a little oil until almost smoking.

Add the rest of the minced shallots and sweat for about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the minced garlic and sweat it taking care not to brown, or burn it.

Add the mustard greens, moving them around with tongs or a gloved hand will help them cook evenly. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Set it aside.

TO PLATE

Warm up the mushrooms, and greens. Arrange the mushrooms neatly fanned out. Squeeze out the excess moisture from the mustard greens and place them in a tight mound in the center of the plate.

Ladle on the Lavender Beurre Blanc and place the salmon on top of the greens.

Brush the top of the fish with a little more of the sauce and serve immediately.

(Serves four people)

Coming up

This season, esteemed local chefs will share recipes and advice on how to cook a wide variety of local seafood.

This year’s Pacific Northwest all-star lineup of chefs include Taichi Kitamura owner and chef at Sushi Kappo Tamura on Eastlake in Seattle; chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka; Megan Coombes chef and general manager of Altstadt in Seattle’s Pioneer Square; chef Maximillian Petty owner of Eden Hill on Queen Anne; chef Tom Douglas owner of Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen and many more; chef Pat Donahue of Anthony’s Restaurants; executive chef Paul Duncan with Ray’s Boathouse & Cafe; Taylor Hoang, chef and owner of Pho Cyclo Cafes and Rickshaw Chef in Seattle; Jason Wilson, executive chef/partner of Miller’s Guild at the Hotel Max and executive chef of Coffee Flour in Seattle; chefs Jun Takai and Yasuhiro “Yasu” Kusano at Shiro’s Sushi in Seattle’s Belltown; and executive chef Jason Brzozowy for Tilth owned by Maria Hines.

Recipes will be posted every Wednesday and/or Thursday through Nov. 2. Also, if you have a recipe you’d like to reel-in my way, please let me know and I will post them, and will even test it out with my family and friends.