Friday, June 14, 2024

Salmon Loaf

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I went to see the salmon run with Kat, our oldest. It’s late in the season; snow has come to the mountain tops; the silver-sided fish traveling from the salty Pacific Sea have turned dark in the freshwater of their spawning grounds. Below the bridge where we stood gazing down, I saw them: dark shadows under the rippling surface of the river. Last year, we watched a pair of eagles as the eagles watched the salmon. It was earlier in the year, and there were a lot more fish schooling in the deeper places under the river’s rippling surface than there are this year.

From the bridge above the river, we stared down into the under-water pools where the salmon were congregating into schools.  I watched them undulate from side to side, filling their gills with oxygenated water, the freshwater of an undulating river flowing clear and cold from the mountaintops to nurture a fresh generation of salmon with last year’s snowpack melted into this year’s rivers.

I love salmon. Not only do they taste delicious, they are, as far as I am concerned, the most courageous of fish. Against all odds, they leave clear, clean, fresh waters to experience a life cycle out at sea that eventually brings them back to their birth streams to reproduce in cycles that vary from two to seven years. Most hatched salmon don’t return to reproduce because they feed so many mouths, including mine. I gazed down from the bridge into the cold water at their dark backs, swishing slowly back and forth in the waters below me, and I considered how many creatures survive and even thrive because salmon exist. The salmon transition from having freshwater flow through their new gills to being able to breathe salt water as they enter the ocean where they spend the bulk of their lives, adapting to life’s circumstances before heading back to their home river and letting the fresh water turn them dark as they made their way upstream to spawn so the cycle can begin all over again.   And for that, every year, at this time, I am extremely thankful. When the days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and Grandma makes a salmon loaf for dinner, I am grateful to God for His generosity in giving us salmon for supper.

Grandma’s Salmon Loaf

1 14.5 oz can of Alaskan salmon        1 cup cracker crumbs, instant oats, or fresh bread crumbs

1-3 Tablespoons of olive oil                ½ sm. onion diced or 2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes

1 egg                                                   1 rib of celery or ½ teaspoon dried celery seed(optional)

Pinch of garlic(optional)

            Drain canned salmon, reserving the liquid. Mix the drained salmon with the egg, cracker crumbs, instant oats, or fresh bread crumbs & set aside. Saute the onion (& celery or celery seed). When the onion is translucent, take the pan off the heat and add the pinch of garlic powder & let cool for five or ten minutes. When the sauteed vegetables are cooled, add them to the salmon mixture and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add some of the reserved liquid; if it is too moist, add some more cracker crumbs, instant oats, or fresh bread crumbs. Put salmon loaf into a casserole dish; bake for 45 minutes, more or less depending on the depth of the casserole dish (deeper dish take a bit longer) at 375℉. Serve with a smile & a side of lentils.

Note: This recipe will also make salmon patties. Simply make the recipe above, make patties instead of a loaf & fry in a skillet on top of the stove & dress up like a hamburger.

           


 

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