Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nootka Poached Salmon

The Nootka, or the Nuu-chah-nulth people, are a loosely associated "confederacy" of First Nations in the Pacific Northwest; and like all peoples of that region, have relied on the annual salmon run as a MAJOR part of their diet.  They are famous for their cooking boxes in which fish and shellfish are cooked.  This is a modern take on that ancient method of cooking and involves the use of imported domestic vegetables to replace the foraged foods that would have gone into the cooking water in pre-contact times.  By poaching this dish in an oven, in a baking environment, it replicates pretty well the cooking box method.  It is from one of the best Native North American cookbooks out there, Cooking With Spirit:  North American Indian Food and Fact by two ladies Darcy Wiiliamson, and Lisa Winter Woman Rasilback, who is Navajo-Apache [Dineh/Indeh].

Nootka Poached Salmon

5 lb. fresh salmon, cleaned with head and tail remove
2 onions, chopped
2 celery stalks
2 carrots, scraped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
fresh water

1.  Place the fish in a large roasting pan.  Put half of the chopped onions in the cavity and the remainder around the fish.  Place celery and carrots on fish.  Add bay and salt, plus sufficient water to cover the fish.  Bake at 400º F degrees for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350º F, covered for 30 minutes.

Cooking Box

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