sushiWe’ve stepped it up in our goal to eat more locally. Last Sunday, we crossed over into the “you eat what you kill” phase. Andy went salmon fishing off the Golden Gate and bagged two 20 plus pound salmon — the limit. That meant that, within mere hours of when they’d been swimming along near the Farallons, these two fish were being hauled out of a cooler onto our back porch where we started wondering what in the Hell you do to turn them into salmon steaks. Luckily, there’s always The Google and Gordon Ramsay can be counted on to provide you any culinary knowledge you need — along with the appropriate swear words.

We needed those swear words. But it only took a few viewings of the video — and an incredibly sharp fileting knife — before we had pounds and pounds of salmon filets.

salmon on plastic

The one thing Gordon doesn’t tell you is that you will need a lot of sheet plastic. Lots.

There is no way you want to attempt this inside. Even though really fresh fish hardly has a fishy smell to it.

There is no way you want to attempt this inside. Even though really fresh fish hardly has a fishy smell to it.

Gordy recommends cutting steaks from the part closest to the head. But we couldn't get ours looking anything but raggedy and butchered.

Gordy recommends cutting steaks from the part closest to the head. But we couldn’t get ours looking anything but raggedy and butchered.

Filets were much easier to cut into a semblance of restaurant quality. I did mention about that very sharp knife, didn't I?

Filets were much easier to cut into a semblance of restaurant quality. I did mention about that very sharp knife, didn’t I?

I think now you see why you are going to need all that plastic sheeting. This is an "up close and personal" process.

I think now you see why you are going to need all that plastic sheeting. This is an “up close and personal” process.

So, within an hour, surprisingly, we had both salmon fileted. The next wise purchase was a vacuum sealer which we immediately used to seal and freeze half the salmon filets  while they were still only hours from the ocean.

Each filet was vacuum sealed individually. Half went into the freezer and half went into the refrigerator.

Each filet was vacuum sealed individually. Half went into the freezer and half went into the refrigerator.

You may wonder why we didn’t freeze more, since a salmon’s worth of filets is a Hell of a lot of fish. Well, we did have a long line of friends lining up with their hands out for fresh salmon. But we’d also learned a surprising lesson from the last time Andy went fishing — that time for tuna in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. At that time, he’d caught a tuna, had it fileted, packed it on ice and flown back to the Bay Area. As we ate tuna steaks every night, we discovered that by the fourth day, the tuna tasted like the freshest fish we’d ever bought from the grocery store. In other words, fish that you buy has taken so long to get to stores — even as fresh caught — that you barely have a day or two in the refrigerator before it starts getting…well…fishy. But our fresh caught fish — especially vacuum packed — still tasted fresh and sushi-quality even after days in the fridge. So, your window of opportunity for giving it away and/or eating it is at least a week.

In celebration, the following Friday, we invited an international coterie of foodie friends around to help us polish off the last of the fresh salmon. That night, we had a Brit, a Vietnamese and a Frenchman turning out amazing salmon dishes — including sushi. Oh, and a cheese plate. How’s that for a cultural mash-up? And here’s another surprising salmon tidbit. The best sushi was made from one of the frozen filets. Our Vietnamese sushi maker had read an interview with famed Japanese chef Nobu. And he claimed frozen fish was much easier to work with and tasted just as good as fresh. I’d have to say, based on our experience, we would wholeheartedly agree.

But just in case, have enough champagne on hand to clinch the deal.

But just in case, have enough champagne on hand to clinch the deal.

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