Ivory King salmon is a delicacy of the Pacific Northwest – milder than the reddish varieties and rich in Omega-3s, it has the appearance of halibut and the flavor of wild Chinook (king) salmon. Once tossed aside as defective, this delicious fish has recently taken its rightful place at the head of the table, and is one of the most sought-after of fine seafoods. While no one knows for sure why the flesh is paler than common varieties, some speculate that the Ivory Kings produce an extra enzyme that allows their systems to metabolize carotenoids, the nutrients responsible for the ruddy color in most salmon.
Ivory king fillets
This recipe was originally developed by Chef Kevin Davis of the Oceanaire Seafood Room. It uses chanterelle mushrooms, another hard-to-find, seasonal wonder of Northwest cuisine. It’s well worth the hunt to find them; however, if price or timing makes chanterelles out of the question, any combination of rich woodland mushrooms can work: porcini and shiitake are good options.
You will need:
- 4 Ivory King steaks (request center cuts – 8 to 10 oz. each)
- ½ pound chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
- olive oil
- 1/3 c dry white wine
- 2 cups organic vegetable or chicken stock
- fresh Thyme, chopped – reserve some sprigs for garnish
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 3 T butter
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- salt and pepper
- more lemons for garnish
1. Preheat grill to medium-low. Rinse steaks under cold water, pat dry, and then brush them with olive oil. Dust them liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, and place them on the grill. Cook to desired doneness, flipping once. Do not overcook – timing will depend upon thickness of the steaks. Salmon should be cooked through but not dry.
2. While the fish is grilling, heat a generous splash of olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Allow the mushrooms to cook slowly, without much stirring – they should begin to caramelize. Turn the mushrooms and brown on both sides. Then, strain off the liquid, reserving it in a bowl, and set the mushrooms aside.
3. Return the pan to the heat and add 1 T of butter; once it melts, add the shallots and garlic and sautee. Add the thyme, then remove from heat and deglaze the pan with the white wine.
4. Return the pan to the heat and allow the wine to reduce by half. Add the stock and allow the liquids to reduce again, to sauce consistency.
5. Add the mushrooms to the pan, along with the mushroom juices and the remainder of the butter, and finish with lemon juice and zest. Swirl well and be sure the chanterelles are well coated with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
6. Place the salmon on a large serving platter or plate them individually. Divide the mushroom ragout between the filets and cover the fish with the mixture. Garnish with lemons and thyme and serve.
(Ivory king photo and Chanterelle photo links.)