Last evening we attended the Copper River Salmon and Alaskan Brewing Company dinner held at Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen in Preston Center. Although the restaurant was filled to capacity, chef Kent Rathbun and crew found a way to squeeze in another 60 diners to sample some of this season’s best salmon. To top this night Rathbun invited a few friends in Scott Romano (corporate chef at Nick and Sam’s) and Matt McCallister (chef-owner of FT33).
Romano and McCallister recently headed north to do some fishing. They were after the coveted Copper River Salmon and had a bit of weather difficulties, but were able to snag some fish of their own. Romano recanted some fishing stories that had bountiful waves nearly toppling their boats, but he said the fishermen took the trip in stride.
While in Alaska, the chef duo made their way through the Juneau brewery, Alaska Brewing Company. It was fascinating to hear how the brewery is extreme on green, but not necessarily to cut back on their eco-footprint, but rather out of necessity. Since the opening of the brewery they have captured all the CO2 generated by the factory, and reused for carbonization of the beer. This saved them plenty of cash from having to buy CO2. In addition, the brewery dries and burns spent grain and that has lowered their fuel cost greatly.
The pairings were simply amazing, and the salmon was over the top delicious. The reason we seek this salmon out so vehemently is due to its high fat content. Fat means more flavor, and it also lends itself to proper cooking.
Each course of the dinner last night was ramped up with Copper River bounty. McCallister made a delicious mousse paired with an Alaskan IPA, and Romano prepared an insane salmon pastrami that sent our table into tremors. That dish was paired with the Alaskan White.
Rathbun offered a benevolent plate of olive oil seared salmon with red potato puree, crispy artichokes and a Meyer lemon yogurt. Added to the plate were these crispy fried lemon slices that made the whole plate pop. This was paired by the Alaskan Amber.
The final course was an Alaskan Brewery Troppelbock Beeramisu prepped by Blue Plate’s chef de cuisine Jennifer Newbold. This was largely a play on a traditional tiramisu, and was spectacular on its own. But Newbold didn’t stop there, she also made salmon bacon and dipped it in chocolate. Newbold is definite marriage material. Genius.
The Copper River season lasts but a single month, and consider yourself under advisement to check out Rathbun’s, FT33 or Nick and Sam’s Grill, or one of the few other local restaurants offering this special fish for a bite.