A full line-up of chinook salmon fisheries get underway on July 1 off the coast as well as places like Sekiu and Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Share story

A full line-up of chinook salmon fisheries get underway on July 1 off the coast as well as places like Sekiu and Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

In this week’s seafood recipe, executive chef and general manager Megan Coombes of Altstadt in Seattle’s Pioneer Square makes a salmon rillette.

Coombes grew up in the Pacific Northwest and found her passion for food and cooking through the television kitchen of Julia Child as well as her mother and grandmother.

She went to study in Germany, first as a high school exchange student, and later in college when she studied international relations. Coombes’ love for cooking lead her New York’s French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) and an internship at Wallse, an Michelin-starred Austrian restaurant.

Chef Megan Coombes of Altstadt.

She moved back to the Northwest in 2013 and found a home at Altstadt, where she has grown into executive chef and general manager. At Altstadt, Coombes blends her background and affinity for German cuisine, culture and language with her culinary skills.

Where to catch kings

The ocean salmon fishing seasons will open Friday (July 1), and anglers should find good catches of chinook off Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay.

Chef Megan Coombes holds a 30 pound king she caught in 1990 off Garibaldi on the northern Oregon coast. Photo courtesy of Megan Coombes.

The overall sport catch this season is 35,000 chinook and 18,900 hatchery-marked coho. Last year’s catch was 64,000 chinook and 150,800 hatchery-marked coho.

The northern coast at the Neah Bay sport fishery will be open daily for chinook salmon only from July 1 through Aug. 21, or until a catch quota of 6,200 chinook is achieved. Catch limit is two salmon daily with no retention of coho and no chum beginning Aug. 1. Also beginning Aug. 1, there is no chinook retention east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.

Just south at La Push, the fishing season will be open daily from July 1 through Aug. 21 with a catch quota of 2,000 chinook. Catch limit is two salmon daily with no retention of coho. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.

On the south-central coast, Westport will be open July 1 through Aug. 21, with a catch quota of 16,600 chinook. Catch limit is one salmon daily with no retention. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.

Salmon anglers are hopeful to reel in chinook like this from the San Juan Islands.

Ilwaco, on the southern coast, will be open July 1 through Aug. 31, with a catch quota of 10,200 chinook and 18,900 hatchery-marked coho. Catch limit is two salmon daily and no more than one may be a chinook. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.

Elsewhere the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands also become fair game for hatchery chinook.

The western Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu will be open for a hatchery-chinook directed fishery July 1 to Aug. 15, and a bonus bag limit for sockeye. A change for the San Juan Islands is a hatchery-chinook-only directed fishery from July 1-30, and then for all chinook Aug. 31 to Sept. 30.

Salmon Rillette

Yields 2 pounds rillette, for 8 servings total

Ingredients

1.5 pounds salmon fillet, skinned and cubed into 2-inch chunks

Salt and white pepper to taste

9 tablespoons butter, divided into 3 tablespoons and 6 tablespoons

4 cups Riesling wine

Half a medium-szied red onion, minced

5 whole white peppercorns

2 whole allspice berries

2 lemons, one zested and one juiced

1/2 cup quark (sour cream or cream cheese will also work)

1/2 pound smoked salmon, chunked (if self smoking, hot smoke to internal temperature of 127 degrees with the skin on)

3 tablespoons chives, finely sliced

2 tablespoons dill, rough chop

(Note: Chinook salmon is specifically great for this recipe because of the higher fat content in this specific species. With leaner salmon species — chum and even some coho salmon — you may want to increase the butter in the recipe to accommodate the leaner meat and ensure the rillette holds together.)

Photo courtesy of Megan Coombes.

Directions

Toss salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes.

Melt three tablespoons of butter in a pot, then add Riesling. Bring to simmer.

Add fish and poach 2-3 minutes until just cooked through. Remove fish from liquid and allow to cool.

Add peppercorns, allspice, red onions and lemon juice to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to make a half cup of liquid. Strain and allow to cool.

In stand mixer, combine remaining six tablespoons of butter with quark (or sour cream or cream cheese) and cooled poaching liquid. Add herbs and lemon zest and mix just to combine. Fold in poached and smoked salmon. Adjust with salt and pepper seasoning to taste as necessary.

Line loaf pan or individual molds, line with plastic wrap. Fill mold(s) and refrigerate three hours to overnight before serving.

Good serving options include a strawberry salad, white asparagus, lemon curd, dill, quark, crostini, pumpernickel bread or bauernbrot bread.


(Yields two pounds of salmon rillette for eight servings total)

Coming up

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

This year’s lineup of chefs include Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, among others; executive chef Jason Brzozowy of Maria Hines’ Tilth; chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka; executive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho along with other chefs from El Gaucho, El Gaucho in Bellevue and The Inn at El Gaucho; executive chef Pat Donahue at Anthony’s Restaurants; Jason Wilson, executive chef and owner of Miller’s Guild and Coffee Flour; Taylor Hoang, from Pho Cyclo; Chefs Jun Takai and Yasuhiro “Yasu” Kusano at Shiro’s Sushi in Seattle’s Belltown; chef Maximillian Petty owner of Eden Hill on Queen Anne; and chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura.

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.