Wonderful ideas hatched over cold Canadian beers and snacks of Fontanne cheese on crackers. We were sitting around a nighttime campfire in a Provincial Park when the conversation with our campsite neighbors, Kent and Jen Kristmanson, turned to salmon. We were, after all, on Vancouver Island. We were thinking about fishing, the salmon runs, big fish in a big country in big wilderness and our big appetites.
Ed and Kent actually put the idea forward that would forever challenge my esteemed chef’s status when it comes to preparing salmon. No longer would I think of my Brookshire’s bought orange fillet as delectable. No longer would I think about disgracing the fish with dabs of butter and minced garlic. Kent would show me a new way of preparing salmon.
That evening Ed and Kent agreed to go out the next morning to French Creek Seafood, Ltd. for “off-the-boat” seafood. I honestly thought the idea would die by daybreak. But, true to their word and fortified with a couple of cups of coffee and a hearty breakfast, the fellows headed out to the harbor. Kent knew this place well. He said it had a fine reputation locally.
Ed and Kent came back from the fish market with a salmon that was longer than any cooler we had in the motor home. Nevertheless, we packed that baby with ice and waited until later in the day. We’d have a fine dinner that evening.
In preparation for cooking, Kent went through my collection of a spices and dried herbs. He knew what he needed. He took some of my stuff and added fresh herbs from his wife Jen’s kitchen. Ed built a fire in the fire ring. I pulled out the roll of foil to wrap the fish. Kent took charge of stuffing the salmon in the way he had been doing for many years.
The toughest part of the dinner was waiting for the fish to cook. It smelled so good as the herbs blended with the salmon aroma. Kent told us to be patient. And, while we waited, Jen and I prepared side dishes, set the table, and kept bringing the guys cold beers. Time passed and the fish cooked to perfection.
We popped open a bottle of fine wine when Kent brought the fish to the picnic table. As he pealed back the foil wrapping, there it was …fresh salmon sizzling and steaming. We chowed down on salmon. I’ll tell you, the side dishes weren’t the main choice on any of our plates. We all went back for seconds of the salmon. It tasted dang good!
Open 7 days a week
1097 Lee Road, Parksville, BC, Canada
On the Point at French Creek Marina
July 18, 2008