Archive for the ‘salmon’ Category

Smoked Salmon a la Douglass

December 14, 2018
Every year around this time, for the longest time, my dear friend Gary, the one who ended his life earlier this year, would smoke a batch of salmon. After he left the bartending game, where we formed our bonds in the 70’s, he became a cook on a fishing boat, and for years he cooked for crews fishing for salmon up in Alaska. He could always get fresh salmon, and of his incoming inventory he always smoked some in his home-make smoker in his backyard here in Bellingham. He had met my parents when they came out, and he liked them, and he wouldn’t let me go back east to visit during Christmas without taking some of his smoked salmon. When my parents picked me up at the airport, we had a well-scripted play to perform. At the front door, as I stood there exhausted from travel and holding a heavy suitcase, Dad’s hand with the key would pause inches from the front door lock. He’d look at me, “Well?”
I had to put down the suitcase, dig around for the buried treasure, and pull it out to show him; only at that point did he put the key in the lock and gain us entrance. There at the dinner table, in very few moments, my mother would have produced plates, knives, finely chopped onion, cream cheese, and the mini-bagels she preferred. I handed over the package of Gary’s salmon, and she performed the ritual transformation. Over the years we had decided that Gary always kept the salmon in the smoker too long, so instead of being soft and wonderful, it was dry and hard, like this smoked salmon I’m eating now. Mom would toss a handful of the smoked salmon into a mixer, add a glop of cream cheese and apply her magic. In a few minutes we had a fantastic smoked salmon spread, which was liberally slathered on bagels, and we drank bad wine and talked and talked and talked. Such wonderful times.