One of the advantages of living in the Pacific Northwest and growing up in North Idaho is getting the chance to enjoy Kokanee every now and again. And I’m not talking about the beer from a small town in south-eastern British Columbia featuring a sasquatch on the label (though I have enjoyed a few of those in my day as well). The kokanee I’m referring is a land-locked variety of sockeye salmon found in parts of western Canada and the western US. Much smaller than ocean-going salmon (typically only about 12 inches long and around a pound in weight), they are very popular for sport fishing and have an incredible flavor and texture, even compared to other wild salmon.
- 2 lbs wild Kokanee fillets (you can use any wild salmon)
- 2 large leeks, chopped (white and pale green parts only)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4″ wedges
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 tablespoon pastured butter
- zest of one lemon (divided)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp dry dill
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a little butter around the bottom of a glass 8×8 baking dish. Cut off the dark green ends of the leeks (don’t use these), then slice into about 1/4″ pieces and separate the layers of each slice. Spread these across the bottom of the pan. Add the onion wedges over the top of the leeks. Dot the butter over the onions, then grate half of the lemon zest evenly over the top of everything.
Arrange your salmon fillets over the top of the veggies, skin side down. Combine the coconut milk, thyme leaves, sea salt, white pepper, dill, and remaining lemon zest in a small mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine, then spread evenly over the top of the fish.
Bake in the oven until the fish is just flaky with a fork but still firm and moist (about 40 minutes). Serve with the leeks and onions on the side, and anything else you feel like having with it (that would be a salad in our case). Enjoy!