By Captain George Nippell
Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Copper River salmon is a delicious dish that comes with chopped nuts and bright pomegranate seeds on top. With a saffron-infused Arborio rice risotto, this culinary masterpiece offers a symphony of flavors that will make your meal more enjoyable. With each bite, enjoy the beauty of wild Alaskan salmon which is seasoned with spices from North Africa.
This recipe is by a former commercial fisherman who fished in the Copper River Fishing District for many seasons.
For the Copper River salmon
2 fillets of Copper River salmon (of choice)
4 oz Pomegranate Molasses (recipe below)
2-3 tbsp finely chopped pistachio nuts
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds (arils)
For the risotto
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tsp saffron
6 cups chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup chopped shallots
For the Pomegranate Molasses
1 It is available at stores carrying Middle-Eastern products, but can easily be made with POM brand pomegranate juice.
2 Add a quarter cup of sugar to two cups of POM juice.
3 Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
4 Reducing by half to a cup or less. (Watch that it doesn’t burn.) It will thicken as it cools, so no worries if it appears a bit thin.
For the Risotto
1 Bring the chicken stock to a near-boil in a separate pot.
2 Take a quarter cup of the stock and add the saffron to allow it to soak while you sauté the shallots with either olive oil or butter.
3 Add the Arborio rice and continue to sauté 3-4 minutes and add the white wine.
4 Once the wine is cooked off, add the hot chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the rice absorbs the stock, then continue to add one ladle at a time, continuing to stir until the rice has become creamy and fully absorbed the stock. (If you taste it and get a “crunch,” it’s not ready.)
5 Add the saffron mixture as you finish the risotto (saffron loses its flavor if cooked too long or at too high a heat).
For the Copper River salmon
1 Season the Copper River salmon with salt and pepper (if you want a North African flair, add a sprinkle of Ras El Hanout, available at most well-stocked grocery stores).
2 Brush lightly with the Pomegranate Molasses, and broil Copper River salmon under high for 8-9 minutes 6 inches below the broiler.
3 Remove and plate Copper River salmon, adding another brush of Pomegranate Molasses, top with finely chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds, and serve with risotto and salad.
Good to Know STORY
Saffron risotto, with its origins dating back to ancient Greece and Rome, boasts a rich culinary heritage. Derived from the labor-intensive harvesting of the Crocus sativus flower, saffron is revered for its unique taste and vibrant yellow color, earning its title as the "king of spices." Beyond its culinary role, saffron has historical applications in medicine and is esteemed for potential health benefits.
In contrast, arugula salad, also known as rocket, has roots dating to Roman times, where it was not only appreciated for its slightly bitter and peppery taste but also considered an aphrodisiac. This nutrient-dense leafy green, abundant in vitamins and minerals, has experienced a culinary resurgence in recent years, featuring prominently in various dishes due to its versatile pairing and culinary appeal.
Together, saffron risotto and arugula salad offer a delightful combination of ancient flavors and modern nutritional benefits, making them an intriguing and healthful addition to any culinary experience.
*Visit our store to learn more about the variety of fish Alaska has to offer, such as Copper River king salmon, wild Alaskan halibut, wild Alaskan black cod (sablefish), and more.