I’m back from a small vacation and, as these things always happen, it was too short. I’d prefer a lifetime on Salt Spring Island, not mere 5 days – tease. We’re back in August, but that’s small comfort when one’s ready to pack up the bags and leave here forever. That’s the thing with Calgary – it’s great for making a living. But it’s hard to live here. Total paradox.
Our travel routine to Salt Spring is usually the same – Westjet to Victoria, ferry to Fulford harbor, stopover to get groceries and back south to the house we’ve been renting the past couple of stays. If we’re lucky, the door to door transit time is 4 hours – amazing, considering the drive and two ferries can take 16. Been there.
Summer is, quite obviously, the best time to be on the island – and if get past the popular stops with hoards of kids and families, you can enjoy the “local” lakes and hikes in total solitude. But my absolute favorite must be the farmstands – or “honesty stands”, as they call them. People set up produce on the side of the road and you pay into a box. We were stocked with most of the vegetables we needed for the week – and not just any vegetables… Organic and picked the same morning from local gardens. No wonder this morning’s trip to the grocery store left me gloomy.
The salty crunch of the skin is a perfect contract to the rich, tender salmon. Take care not to overcook the fish – the perfect salmon is slightly underdone, otherwise it can be chewy and dry – one sad fish! When purchasing, choose sustainably caught wild salmon, checking that it’s very fresh and asking when it was caught. The flesh should look firm and bright, not dull, and the eyes clear. It shouldn’t smell funny.
On that note, if you’re ever visiting Salt Spring and looking to buy salmon, it’s worth checking out the Country Grocer on Lower Ganges Rd. You may think that specialty fish stores will offer the best value, but you’d be surprised.
- Olive oil
- 300g Sockeye Salmon (2 portions)
- 3 cups mixed greens
- ½ avocado
- 3 tbs milk
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly chopped dill to garnish
- lemon wedges on the side
- optional: nasturtium flowers to garnish
- Make your salad first. Mash the avocado and milk until smooth. Spoon on to the plate as a bed for the salmon. Toss the greens with a bit of olive oil and the raspberries. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with nasturtium flowers, if using.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium-high. Brush on a little olive oil, just enough to coat the surface. Pat the fillets with a paper towel to ensure they're thoroughly dried. Season with a bit of salt (no pepper, it will burn). Place the fillets in the skillet, skin-side down. Cook, avoiding touching, or moving, for about 5 minutes. Most of the cooking should be done on the skin side. Flip the salmon over and continue cooking until done through, about one minute. Don't overcook.
- Place the salmon on the avocado sauce, skin-side up and garnish with dill. Serve with lemon wedges. Goes famously with chilled Pinot Grigio.