THE COOK’S TOUR
Frozen salmon? In a box? Which, I say, is the best salmon that I’ve ever cooked with…
Before I tell you about the AMAZING seafood from Wild Alaskan Seafood Company, let’s go all Salmon Stephen King…
Terrifying Fish Tales
Commercial fish is a lot like commercial chicken eggs: 90% of the fish consumed in North America comes from Asia, where corner-cutting farming methods, and unsustainable wild catch practices, are common. Farmed fish is the dominant source of seafood in most of the world’s industrialized countries.
Put real wild fish next to farm-raised, and you’ll see the difference…
Sourcing great seafood is tricky.
First, a lot of what is called “wild caught” Alaskan salmon isn’t. It comes from fish farms that have little, or no regulation to how they “sustainably” raise fish.
We have been marketed into thinking that “farm-raised” immediately means “sustainable,” and that the best fish is shipped on ice, not frozen.
Let’s debunk those myths…
Market “Wild” May Be Dye-ld
I used to buy “wild” at Costco, until a bit of dried dye bled out of a piece of salmon that I was getting ready to cure.
Some markets, because of legal actions, or state regulations, now have to disclose when their salmon gets a “dye job.”
Most of the seafood that you buy, even from very expensive markets, is handled poorly on its way to your table.
The pitfalls of iced and some frozen fish, on their way to your market:
- Stored poorly on the boat, or at the fish farm processing plant;
- Frozen really sloppily;
- Iced in used/damaged containers that don’t seal properly, allowing warm air in during transit;
- Put it in containers heat and cool, allowing ice to melt, and fish to soak up the water.
- Useless water weight adds price that is lost in cooking;
Even after the fish has been in transport, for days, to an American market, it can sit up to six days before they have to take it off of sale.
If you walk into a market, or supermarket, and smell that strong ammonia, seafood smell, RUN!
Live by the coast? Think that makes your seafood better? My local fishmonger brings in catch, right from the boat, that’s amazing. His salmon? Pale, farm-raised, mushy.
What you may think may be the fish on the label may not even be a true species of the fish being advertised to you.
Many times, what is advertised as “wild caught” is still farm-raised, or not even the species of fish advertised to you. That often means sneaking in species whose fishing has been banned, and drives species towards extinction.
Fish fraud is pretty common in the industry. Oceana, a non-profit that we endorse, is pushing not only for global awareness, but to create greater transparency in the ocean-to-table food chain.
Enter The Wild Alaskan Seafood Company
The Alaska Epiphany
I went to Alaska, and had an epiphany:
THIS was what cold-water seafood was supposed to taste like! Real king crab. Real salmon!
This is what salmon felt like, before cooking: Not mushy swampy, slimy. Not a smell, like a putrid factory chicken.
I buy meat from top producers out of my area. So I began looking at options for bringing salmon from Alaska.
My first couple of attempts weren’t good. The fish came in barely frozen, spending too long in transit. Or it didn’t come in at all, as one small producer kind-of-sort-of maybe forgot my order. Sorry!
Then I found The Wild Alaskan Company.
Meet Aaron Kallenberg. 3G Fisherman 1G Computer Geek & Entrepreneur
The Wild Alaskan Company is owned by Aaron Kallenberg, a third generation Alaskan fisherman, with mad computer skills.
His family has been fishing Bristol Bay’s sustainable salmon fisheries since the 1920’s.
Wild Alaskan’s mission is to let you experience the kind of seafood that, these days, you have a hard time finding, even at “upscale” supermarkets, or at one of the most endangered species: A legit seafood market.
Their seafood is processed and flash-frozen shortly after the catch. Without spending hours, days, or weeks on ice, the seafood is firm, not water-logged.
There are a number of companies that have shifted to this processing model. What makes Wild Alaskan stand out is how they have mastered the boat-to-table delivery of such great product, even if you live on the other side of the United States.
Box O’ Goodness
Wild Alaskan ships perfect portions, flash-frozen, and packed in dry ice for shipping in a monthly, or bi-monthly box.
You can get salmon, sable fish, pollock, shrimp, and scallops. There are often specials for sable, or other fish that can be harvested sustainably, as they become available.
Boxes come in 12, or 24 pieces of 170 g / 6 oz. individually wrapped portions. They’re perfect to pop out of the freezer, defrost per the instructions, and serve.
Shipped monthly, or bi-monthly, you get a steady supply of a top-quality, sustainably harvested protein for your family, shipped well in an eco-friendly box that doesn’t add to our oceans’ garbage pile.
Important Cooking Advice
If you’re used to cooking the soft, squishy salmon, pollack, or sable, that shows up at the store, DO make sure that you dial back your cook times.
This fish is flash frozen FRESH. It’s leaner, meatier, and more flavorful. Equipment varies, but, in our Joule sous vide, which has presets for all kinds of foods, we have to dial it back about 30% just to avoid over-cooking true, fresh seafood.
Their salmon, on a cast-iron skillet, at 177°c / 350°F, we find that searing it for three minutes, to a side, is perfect.
The last time that I visited Alaska was a few years ago. I received a huge education to what wild salmon, and real, fresh-off-the-boat king crab legs, were all about.
Thanks to improved flash freezing, and just-in-time shipping, we can experience, if we follow their defrosting instructions, the full flavor, and improved nutrition of fisherman-to-family delivery. The Wild Alaskan Company has combined traditional fishing with 21st century marketing, and shipping, to offer home chefs the kind of seafood often only seen at top restaurants that care about A+ quality.
I give their monthly boxes my Jazz Chef Choicestuff Five Diamond rating for walking their walk and bringing Bristol Bay your way, wherever you may be.
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