From Salmon Casserole To Thai Chowder, Cooking With Alaska's Fisherwomen

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Laura Cooper and sisters Tomi and Kiyo Marsh have worked in the commercial fishing industry in Alaska in jobs ranging from deckhand to skipper to cook.  They've gone crab fishing in the Bering Sea and they've fished for Turbot and Black Cod along the Aleutian Islands.

The women decided to collect their favorite recipes and stories from the high seas in a new book, "Fishes and Dishes: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen." We speak with Tomi Marsh and Laura Cooper.

See recipes for Alaska Salmon Niçoise Salad, Miso-glaze Black Cod, Crab and Cucumber Salad, Thai clam chowder, and Salmon Noodle Casserole below.

Alaska Salmon Niçoise Salad (pdf)

Salmon Nicoise Salad. (The Fishes and Dishes Cookbook)
Salmon Nicoise Salad. (The Fishes and Dishes Cookbook)

[sidebar title="Chef's Note" width="475" align="center"] Similar to a traditional Niçoise salad, in this dish good-quality smoked salmon sits side by side with steamed green beans, new potatoes, capers, tomatoes, and eggs to create a tasty, filling dish. If Niçoise olives are unavailable, you can substitute Kalamata olives.[/sidebar]


9 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed of strings
1 pound small red potatoes
1 small head Bibb or butter lettuce
4 tablespoons capers
1 cup Niçoise olives
2 large tomatoes, cut into 8 pieces each
10 to 12 ounces good –quality smoked salmon
4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
Lemon Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
Pinch sugar
Pinch sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil


Steam the green beans until tender, then rinse will under cold water and drain.

Boil the potatoes until done, and cool down in cold water.

Drain and quarter the potatoes.

Place several lettuce leaves on each plate. Place a mound of potatoes in the middle of each plate.

Surround with separate piles of beans, capers, olives, tomatoes, and smoked salmon. Nestle two egg
halves on opposite sides of the plate.

Lemon Vinaigrette:

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, shallots, Dijon mustard, and sugar in a
medium, high-sided bowl.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking vigorously to emulsify.

Whisk in the salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle salad with the Lemon Vinaigrette

Miso-glaze Black Cod


1/3 cup dry sake
1/3 cup mirin
1/3 cup red miso
3 tbs packed brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
4 (6oz.) black cod fillets
2 tbs chopped green onion


Marinade: In a medium bowl mix together the sake, mirin, red miso, brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger until smooth and well blended. Place the cod fillets and the marinade in a large Ziploc bag, and squeeze out as much air as possible. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours, turning the bag over occasionally. Turn on the broiler and arrange the rack on level down from the top. Place the cod fillets in an ovenproof pan and broil for approximately 5 minutes or until the top of the fish is caramelized and dark brown. Top with chopped green onion.

Salmon Noodle Casserole

Makes 8 servings

[sidebar title="Chef's Note" width="475" align="right"] This delicious, homey recipe can be made when you have a lot of leftover salmon. Simply grilled salmon works best for this dish, to allow the tasty ingredients and seasonings to do their magic.[/sidebar]

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
G teaspoon dried thyme
G teaspoon dried savory
1 cup milk
1 (8-ounce) package
cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces cooked salmon, skinned and deboned, broken into chunks
H teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups cooked pasta, such as penne or farfalle (bow-tie)
1 cup bread crumbs, or panko


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium, add the mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet over medium heat, and add the flour, stirring constantly until the butter starts to brown and smell nutty. Be careful not to burn it. Add the chicken broth, the thyme, and the savory, and scrape up any flavorful brown bits in the pan. Add the milk, the cream cheese, and the cream, and whisk until smooth. Decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the onion-mushroom mixture to the pan, add the peas, cheese, salmon, and Old Bay Seasoning, and stir to combine. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Toss the sauce with the noodles until well coated. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Toss with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Place the casserole dish uncovered into the oven for 20 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden. Serve immediately.

Thai Clam Chowder

2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed
3 strips bacon, diced
1 (14oz) can clam juice
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk
1 tbs fish sauce
1tbs packed brown sugar
1½ tsp green curry paste
2 (6.5 oz) cans chopped clams with their juices
1½ to 2 tbs lime juice
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


Chop the lemongrass into 2-inch lengths. Smash the lemongrass pieces with the flat side of a knife. Sauté the bacon in a medium pot over medium heat until browned. Add the lemongrass and sauté for several minutes. Add the clam juice, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, curry paste, and clams with their juices. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for ½ hour. Add the lime juice and heat for 2 minutes. Put the chowder into soup bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.

Crab and Cucumber Salad


¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tbs sugar
1 ½ tsp soy sauce
1 cucumber, peeled
2 tbs sushi nori (seaweed)
1 cup Dungeness or king crab meat


In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce together until the sugar is dissolved. Slice
the cucumber thinly, add the slices to the dressing and toss. Allow the flavors to mingle for at least
15 minutes. Slice the seaweed into very thin strips about 1 inch long. Drain the cucumber slices and
arrange on 4 plates. Top with the crabmeat and sprinkle with the sushi nori.

All recipes from, "The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen." Copyright © Epicenter Press; 1st edition (April 28, 2010).

This segment aired on February 16, 2011.


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