Lovers of fresh salmon filets and steaks couldn't wait to fire up their outdoor grills last April when the commercial salmon-fishing season opened and markets began to fill with the delectable fish. But smiles turned to frowns when the season closed at the end of summer. Home cooks have had to settle for farm-raised salmon while they wait for the season to reopen in the spring.
There's an option, though. Corti Bros. Market is selling an innovative new product, Frozen At Sea wild king salmon, for $15 to $20 a pound (depending on cut and occasional sales).
The technique as explained by FAS distributors involves "rapid freezing of the fish at minus-40 degrees while the boat is still at sea." This takes place while the fish is still pliant, which means, they say, it will have a higher moisture content when thawed out, resulting in better flavor and texture. There's more science to it than that, but you get the drift.
We broiled lightly seasoned steaks and fillets of FAS salmon at home and found them to be better than any farm-raised salmon steaks and fillets we've had, and pretty much the same in flavor and texture as fresh salmon. The succulent fish disappeared so fast, though, that we'd better get some more and conduct a second tasting just to be sure.
Corti Bros. gets its FAS salmon from Seafood Suppliers of San Francisco. The actual fisher responsible for that supply is Heather Sears, captain of the F/V Princess, docked in Fort Bragg. She and her crew caught the fish between Point Arena and Bodega Bay, an area that was thick with krill last season. Salmon love to eat krill; in turn, the small crustaceans intensify the salmons' natural orange color.
Corti Bros. Market is at 5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 736-3800, www.cortibros.biz.