“Take a photo of this salmon,” my mom said. She ran into the freezer in the garage and came back with a frozen whole fish. It was gorgeous. It weighed 7 1/2 pounds (3.5 kg). Weeks earlier, Fedex came to the door and delivered a box of seven whole salmon.
My brother Dan had caught them on a fishing trip in Alaska. I’d seen a Facebook photo of Dan holding one of the salmon and wondered what he was going to do with it. I never thought he’d catch seven total. Bo Gia told me that Dan also caught a 160-pound halibut. Glad he didn’t send that to my mom because it must have been the size of a bathtub. After Dan read this post, he emailed a location shot of himself holding onto his haul. He sent some of these to my mom...
Mom is a precise cook who is never far from a kitchen scale. She reported that all the fish totaled 51 pounds. They’d been gutted so they must originally weighed a lot more. What were her intentions with all that salmon?
Defrosting one (about 30-inches long in the photo below) in the fridge took about 3 days and my mom, who just turned 80, had to shimmy the fish into her side-by-side fridge. Bo Gia didn’t want to chance it by defrosting at room temperature. Once defrosted, my mom hacked at the fish with a cleaver, regular chef’s knife, and a pair of scissors.
Salmon is versatile, she told me, you can do so many things with it. She rattled off a bunch of Viet recipe ideas and got me thinking about assembling this list of your consideration. Here are a few ideas from my mom and me, on this site as well as in my cookbooks.