Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish...

If there's one thing I love but am not willing to pay insane prices for... it's salmon. I grew up in the Columbia River Gorge (not to be confused with the Gorge Amphitheater in George), and John and Mel have always been avid fishermen. Growing up, we never had a shortage of salmon. What we couldn't eat fresh off the grill (awww...not BBQ salmon AGAIN) went into salmon dip and jars and jars and jars of John's can't-be-beat smoked salmon. We were spoiled. When I moved to Seattle 6 years ago, I was amazed at the price of salmon... What!? People actually pay that much money for such tiny little pieces? We used to catch a full summer's worth for the price of a few fishing licenses! And the price was the least of my concerns... you should see how people up here cook salmon! Baby sized salmon steaks!? Boiled, baked and broiled!? Drenched in fancy sauces, frilly dressings, and other oddities covering up the fantastic flavor of the salmon itself!? I had never experienced such blasphemy. No one knows how to do salmon like John and Mel.

As time went on, and trips to John and Mel's became shorter and less frequent throughout the years, I started realizing how lucky we were with all that fresh, delicious salmon we had growing up. Now, with the ridiculous price of salmon, the small, sickly portions available at stores, and my lack of a charcoal grill, I'm salmon deprived. Amanda and I were both feeling a lack of salmon in our lives, so we gave the 'rents a call and said to pull a fish outta the freezer, because we were comin' home!

We headed down to the country last weekend, for a few days with John and Mel. Not only was it nice to get out of the city, but we also knew what we were in store for. BBQ salmon, done the way salmon should be done, prepared how we've had it our entire lives. Mel and John always grill up a whole fish. One side, 'for the grown ups' is rubbed down with spicy Jamaican jerk seasoning. The other side is slathered with an unlikely combo of mayo, seasoning salt, and lemon juice. John throws them on the old charcoal Weber (grilled with skin on, of course), and the results are pure magic.

Salmony, spicey, smokey, fresh, and delicious. Combined with a salad picked straight from Mel and John's garden, followed with homemade (hand picked) huckleberry ice cream and four-layer lemon cake, all consumed out on the deck with family and friends, fresh country air, and a killer view of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood. Heaven. With eats like this, Mel and John never have to worry about us not coming home to visit.

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