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This is a crowning moment for summer-time king salmon fisheries with fair to good action reported in the ocean, Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands and open areas of Puget Sound.

In this week’s seafood recipe of the week, executive chef Sarah Scott at El Gaucho in Bellevue provides a wonderful crusted salmon recipe that will impress guests at the dining table.

Scott or “Sarita” as her co-workers call her is El Gaucho’s newest – and youngest – executive chef, and grew up in Winter Park, Florida.

(Executive Chef Sarah Scott of El Gaucho in Bellevue)
(Executive Chef Sarah Scott of El Gaucho in Bellevue)

She joined the El Gaucho team in 2008 when their Bellevue restaurant opened, and she worked her way through every station to the top. She enjoys eating dim sum, loves music, and played bass trombone at University of Central Florida and Rollins College, admitting she almost majored in music performance.

Salmon fisheries abound

The hatchery chinook fishery opened this past Saturday in northern and central Puget Sound with plenty of hype, and fair fishing action. The best catches have occurred off Jefferson Head, Kingston, Possession Bar, Richmond Beach, Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, west side of Whidbey Island, Edmonds area, and from Pilot Point to Point No Point.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca has been slow to fair at best for hatchery chinook, but should increase in the days ahead off Sekiu, Freshwater Bay and Port Angeles.

South-central Puget Sound south of the northern tip of Vashon Island has been fair at times for hatchery kings at Dolphin Point, south of the Southworth Ferry Landing, Brace Point, Point Evans, entrance to Gig Harbor, Point Robinson and the Tacoma area off Point Defiance Park. Elsewhere the San Juan Islands have also generated some glory moments for hatchery kings.

The coastal salmon fisheries have seen some improvement with Neah Bay and Ilwaco producing the best catches, and fair off Westport and La Push.

Moroccan Crusted Salmon, Preserved Lemon-Orange Salad and Chermoula


4, 8 ounce wild king salmon pieces

4 teaspoons of Moroccan Spice (recipe below)

Chermoula (recipe below)

Preserved Lemon-Orange Salad (recipe below)

El Gaucho Seasoning available at Metropolitan Markets, Zupan’s, and all El Gaucho restaurants.

1.25 teaspoons of smoked paprika

Cilantro for garnish

Salmon directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season salmon pieces with El Gaucho Seasoning, and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Generously sprinkle the Moroccan seasoning over the salmon and lightly press into the fish with your fingers.

Sprinkle 0.25 teaspoons of smoked paprika (for each portion) over the Moroccan seasoning to lightly cover.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Spoon the room temperature chermoula on the plate and gently lay the cooked salmon over part of the sauce.

Top the salmon with three tablespoons of the preserved lemon-orange salad and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

Photo courtesy of El Gaucho.
Photo courtesy of El Gaucho.

Chermoula ingredients

1/2 tablespoon of garlic, minced

1/4 ounce of jalapeno, seeded

1/2 cup cilantro, leaves only

1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, leaves only

1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar

3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

2 teaspoons of black pepper, ground

1/2 teaspoon of cumin, ground

2 teaspoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of honey

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Chermoula directions

Add all ingredients to a blender except for the olive oil.

Blend until almost pureed. Slowly add in the olive oil and blend until pureed.

Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

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Moroccan Spice ingredients

1/2 cup of coriander, ground

1/2 cup of cinnamon, ground

2.5 tablespoons of cumin, ground

4 teaspoons of clover, ground

4 teaspoons of cardamom, ground

2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons of black pepper, ground

Moroccan Spice directions

Mix all ingredients together and store in a tightly sealed container for up to four months.

Tegan Yuasa of Mercer Island with a nice king salmon he landed off Ilwaco.
Tegan Yuasa of Mercer Island with a nice king salmon he landed off Ilwaco.

Preserved Lemon- Orange Salad ingredients

2 cups of mandarin (navel oranges can be substituted) orange segments

1/2 preserved lemon, chiffonade. Seeded with all pith removed

1/2 red onion, grilled (or roasted), medium dice

1/2 lime, juiced and zested

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon of Moroccan spice

Pinch of salt

Preserved Lemon- Orange Salad directions

Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Store in a refrigerator for up to 4 days.

(Recipe 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 weekly through October.

This year’s lineup of chefs include Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, among others; Taylor Hoang, chef and owner of Pho Cyclo Cafes and Rickshaw Chef in Seattle; chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka; executive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho, Sarah Scott of El Gaucho in Bellevue along with other chefs from El Gaucho 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; Megan Coombes chef and general manager of Altstadt in Seattle’s Pioneer Square; 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; chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura; executive chef Jason Brzozowy for Tilth owned by Maria Hines; and Jason Wilson, executive chef and owner of Miller’s Guild at the Hotel Max in Seattle and executive chef of Coffee Flour.

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.