On the Grill: Smoky Maple Rubbed Wild Chignik Salmon and Lemon Garlic Fireweed Shoots

It’s not yet the official start of summer, but nothing feels like the season more than sitting outside in sunshine grilling our supper.

Some people say Chignik River salmon are The Best. Who are we to argue? The vacuum-packed fish we caught last fall taste like we just pulled them out of the water. We love these salmon. They are fun to fish for, delicious and are a beautiful part of this environment. We feel fortunate to have them as part of our menus at least four times a week. Yesterday, we thought we would try a smoky maple rub we were gifted awhile back. It worked perfectly on the grill, giving a nice smoky, sweet layer of flavor while still letting the salmon shine through.

The star of the meal were the fireweed shoots. If you’ve never tried these beauties, now is the time to do it. Around here, they are popping out of the ground in a plum-colored frenzy. Early in the season, the shoots can be picked and used just like asparagus. The leaves are tender and the stems have a satisfying crunch. Later in the summer, the plants will produce fuchsia-colored flowers that climb up the stalks like a calendar of the summer passing. These flowers are edible, as well. We’ve used the pink blossoms in tossed salads and have stirred them into homemade honey ice cream for an added visual pop. But I digress…

Preparing the fireweed shoots is simple. Give the shoots a thorough rinse to remove any dirt. Then mix together soy sauce, lemon and garlic to taste. Toss the mixture with the fireweed shoots. Place a couple of pats of butter beneath the shoots and another couple on top. Grill in foil until the butter is melted and the mixture is bubbling. We like our shoots pretty crunchy, so we only grilled them for about 4 minutes. And if you’ve prepared a baked potato on the side, any extra sauce from cooking fireweed the fireweed makes a delectable topping. Bon AppΓ©tit!

9 thoughts on “On the Grill: Smoky Maple Rubbed Wild Chignik Salmon and Lemon Garlic Fireweed Shoots

  1. Everything tastes better al fresco! Are you just going to the other house for the summer or a permanent move? Good luck in the marathon πŸƒπŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈπŸƒπŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈ

    • Sadly, June 21 will be our final day at Chignik Lake. I’ll do some writing and posting about that in the near future. We are staying in Chignik Lake as long as we can, mainly to add to our bird photos. Our new home will be in Newhalen, on Lake Iliamna just above the top of the Alaska Peninsula. We’ll post maps and details soon… And thanks for the well-wishes on the running!

      • I looked it up when you first mentioned.. much bigger school for Barbra (is that even good?) but I feel sad not to be living vicariously at Chignik any more. Thank you both for making it come alive for me and countless others. By the way I was looking for ‘Four days of solitude at Black Lake..) but cannot find, did you remove? How’s the guitar going maestro in the making??

        • The school in Newhalen has an excellent reputation with a strong administrator, a good faculty and eager students. Since Barbra will teach a combined class of only three grades (4, 5 and 6) instead of all the grades, it will be easier work for her, which is good. But we will really miss Chignik Lake. We are leaving with a lot of good will and so we might get to visit during salmon and berry season in future years. In answer to your question about some of the older posts, now that I’m sending out articles for publication and am working on a book, I’ve taken material off the blog that might be too similar to some of that content. And the guitar… is going better than I had any right to expect. I’ll soon put in my 300th hour of practice. Just 200 to go to my initial goal of 500 hours. I’d play even more if I didn’t have all these other projects going on. Never thought I’d be so busy at this point in my life, but no complaints. It’s great to get up and get to work each morning. Thanks as always for coming along on our journeys. JD

        • Didn’t want to bother you again BUT just read up on the Lake I fishing! Wow! I can see you two smiling from here. (No reply necessary)

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