Thursday, October 2, 2008

Coconut Salmon w/ Sweet & Sour Sauce

Here was my train of thought this morning when I was peering into my freezer trying to decide what to defrost for dinner: Thursday night. What am I doing? Run. Movie? No, VP debate is on. Palin. Alaska. Salmon. Double Musky Coconut Salmon! MMMMM.

I have only eaten at the Double Musky Inn in Girdwood, Alaska twice but it might be one of my top 5 favorite restaurants. But we'll have to wait and see when I sit down to write that list. The restaurant is billed as "Alaska's Mountain Cajun Cuisine." Some lady on the Food Network even said they have the best steak in America. I'm not much of a steak connoisseur, but I do know that their coconut salmon served with sweet and sour sauce is worth the trip to Alaska for a chance to eat.

Lucky for us in the lower 48, the owners of the Double Musky, Bob and Deanna Persons, published a cookbook, which I happened to pick up and you can get on their Web site. I don't own a lot of cookbooks--just counted, I have five and that's if you count a spice companion--but this one is great. I am not an expert on their menu, but it looks like they have recipes for pretty much everything they serve. (Funny side note, Sen. Ted Stevens wrote the foreword. He also seems to be a fan of the coconut salmon.)

I am pleased to report that the homemade coconut salmon is just as good as I remember the restaurant version being. Success! It was so good in fact that I didn't get any pretty pictures of it before we gobbled it all down. The recipe SPECIFICALLY says "it is best eaten right out of the fryer." We took that quite literally. Technically it is supposed to be an appetizer, so if you feel guilty eating fried fish with coconut all over it as your main course go ahead and serve it that way. I felt no such remorse. Although some green onion mashed potatoes did complement it nicely.

(Where did this salmon come from, you might be asking. I know, I told you in the Worst Kitchen Moments post that all my halibut and salmon went bad. But luckily Nic's dad had kept his own 100 lbs. of the fish in Texas, and he was kind enough to bring us some on his last trip to D.C.)

I halved both the beer batter and the sweet and sour sauce recipe. It was just the right amount of sauce, but it was still more than enough batter for the amount of salmon we made (1/2 fillet), which could serve 4-6 as an appetizer or 2-3 for dinner.

Coconut Salmon w/ Sweet & Sour Sauce
From The Double Musky Inn Cookbook
For beer batter
1 cup beer
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. salt
pinch pepper
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 3/4 cups flour

For sweet and sour sauce
1 1/2 cups grape jelly
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tbs. horseradish

For coconut salmon
beer batter
shredded sweetened coconut
oil for deep frying

-Mix together beer, vegetable oil, egg, salt, pepper, water, and garlic powder. Add the flour little by little until it is the desired consistency. You can make this batter ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to make the salmon.
-In a saucepan on low heat, warm up the jelly until it is smooth and all the clumps are gone. Then add mustard and horseradish. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Again, this can be made early and refrigerated.
-Remove the skin from the salmon. Cut the salmon into chunks about 1/2 inch thick. The other dimensions don't matter as much, but they are supposed to be finger dipping food.
-Coat the salmon pieces with flour, then beer batter, then coconut. Make sure you get plenty of coconut on there and pat it down so that it sticks.
-Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pan to 375 degrees. (I throw in a little piece of bread and see if it sizzles in place of a nifty oil thermometer.) Fry the salmon until the coconut turns golden brown. This cooks pretty fast so keep an eye on it!
-Drain on paper towels. Eat immediately.

I'm not sure if they don't taste as good once they cool. I didn't wait to find out.

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