I don’t know about you, but I have found the coronavirus pandemic upsetting on a personal level. Seeing some of Chicago’s most beloved restaurants temporarily close and their staff left without pay, and reading reports about the extent of the situation and projected future losses, has made me sad and anxious. I don’t work in a restaurant, but I have forged relationships with restaurateurs for a few years now, and I have always admired people in this industry for their creativity, work ethic, and passionate resilience.
Call me naive or hopelessly optimistic, but the question of a silver lining has preoccupied me for a few days now. Will anything positive come out of all this fear and devastation? My hope is that it will, and that many of us consumers in a post-coronavirus world will hold on to our new habit of shopping small and local, and of calling out companies on their sustainability practices. My hope is that we will establish meaningful and enduring connections with those hearts and hands that do the hard work for us to be able to enjoy life’s necessities and/or luxuries. My hope is that most of us will continue to shop local and to be inquisitive enough to question the quality of ingredients and the human costs attached to getting those ingredients to us in the first place. I can hope, can’t I? 🙂
No other company comes closer to embodying mindful eating, sustainable practices, and a celebration of local talent and hard work, than Sitka Salmon Shares. As I explained in my previous article on the topic, Sitka Salmon Shares (SSS) has an established reputation for selling premium, sustainable, wild Alaskan seafood to customers who join SSS’s Community Supported Fishery, which entitles them to a “share” of the catch of one of the participating fishing families. The fish is caught in the pristine waters of Southeast Alaska and the North Pacific, and sent directly to customers’ doorsteps along with recipes and a newsletter about the fishermen who caught the fish that month.
What makes SSS seafood so special? For starters, their fishermen bleed each fish individually as soon as it’s caught. The fish are then immersed in slush ice, rapidly cooling and preserving the delicate flesh. The fishermen deliver their catch to port in 3 days max (much less than the industry standard of 5 days). SSS experts then fillet and portion each fish by hand, and use special technology to blast-freeze it. This method ensures that the fish can last for many months in customers’ freezers with little decline in quality.
I had a piece of salmon in my freezer from my previous collaboration with SSS, which I used last week to make salmon with couscous.
I started off by lightly pan-frying the salmon with butter and herbs de Provence. I hadn’t cooked salmon this way in a long time (I posted a recipe many years ago!), and I thoroughly enjoyed the smell of herbs de Provence which permeated my kitchen as I was cooking the beautiful and delicate fish.
Such a joy to the eyes, such an enchanting aroma!
I paired the salmon with creamy couscous (cooked with sundried tomatoes, green onion and salt and pepper) and gently sautéed micro-grape tomatoes.
This dish to me speaks perfectly about the ongoing change of seasons, with winter still not willing to leave Chicagoland, and with spring still not strong enough to oppose meaningful resistance.
A picture-perfect dish which epitomizes a slow renewal – but a renewal nonetheless:
The fishing industry is currently struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a risk SSS shares with numerous fishermen and women across the United States. Now, more than ever before, the hard-working and resilient SSS members need our help and support. You can join Sitka Salmon Shares’ Community Supported Fishery to help its members – and to help yourself as well: to eat healthier, to feel better, to be a part of a greater goal. The high quality of the fish you get as a member has to be experienced to be believed. Once you taste the SSS fish, you will not want to go back to grocery-store seafood, shipped back and forth around the world, and nowhere near as fresh as you would like it to be. Join SSS now and you can get $25 off any share except for the Taste of Fall share – just use code CLP at checkout. *Note: SSS has implemented a no contact home delivery system in response to Covid-19 – more details can be found here.
I had an amazing time cooking with SSS fish and creating this dish for myself and my family. As I was working with the salmon, I was animated by a desire to treat this precious ingredient well, and to share its story with my readers to the very best of my abilities. Maybe hope is at the end of the tunnel, after all. Call me utterly naive, but I believe many of us will hold on to our new habit of shopping locally and sustainably. During shelter-in-place at home, we have established enduring connections thanks to technology, which has miraculously bridged the gap, bringing us closer to those individuals who do the hard work for us to be able to enjoy life’s necessities and/or luxuries.
There’s no place like home – take Sitka, for example 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received a complimentary tasting to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.