Bristol Bay Salmon


On a media tour in 2015, I had the chance to see the Bristol Bay fisheries firsthand. The fishery season only lasts six to eight weeks, yet it yields 50 percent of the wild salmon market globally, equating to twenty-eight million pounds of wild Alaska salmon!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Alaskan
Servings 4 servings


Ingredients for salmon

  • 4 6 ounce portions of Bristal Bay salmon skin off and pin boned
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for foraged pasta

  • 2 cups cooked rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup beach greens or other hearty green
  • ½ cup beach peas or domestic sweet peas
  • 1 cup mustard greens, chiffonade, or domestic greens
  • Beach pea tendrils (as garnish) or locally purchased as garnish
  • Beach pea blossoms (as garnish) or microgreens as garnish
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste to taste

Ingredients for Tundra Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Labrador tea, dried and broken up*
  • 2 tbsp wormwood (stinkweed), dried and broken up


Procedure for salmon

  • For best results, pull salmon out of the refrigerator 5 minutes before cooking.
  • Before putting salmon in pan, dab it with a paper towel, whisking away residual moisture, and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add oil.
  • Add salmon to the pan flesh side down, and be sure to release away from you, so as not to splash oil in your direction. Do not crowd the fish.
  • Pick up after 1 minute, to avoid sticking.
  • Gently flip salmon, and depending on the thickness, turn the heat off and let it rest in the pan as you plate the rest of the meal.

Procedure for foraged Pasta

  • Be sure to wash all foraged items in a diluted vinegar wash
  • Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the beach peas, and cook for 45 seconds. Add beach greens and mustard greens.
  • After 45 seconds, or when the greens begin to wilt, turn off heat and add noodles, stirring constantly.
  • If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water to steam and lift items off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add approximately 1⁄4 cup of the dressing to the noodle mixture and carefully mix in.
  • Divide and plate on warmed plates.

Procedure for Tundra Vinaigrette

  • Add vinegar, mustard, and garlic together into a container.
  • Strongly mix in the oil to make an emulsion.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water if you need to make the emulsion more viscous.
  • Add wormwood and Labrador tea at the end.
  • For best results, make the dressing a day in advance to allow the flavors to mingle together.


Despite the massive business, the Bristol Bay region is very remote and only accessible by boat or plane. Traditional and subsistence foods are very important to this community. This recipe was meant to honor both sides of this world: the worldwide importance of wild Bristol Bay salmon, as well as the unique flavors of the rocky and temperamental coast and the aromatic, marshy tundra.
This is a very region-specific recipe—for best results, speak with a local forager in your community or visit your local farmers market. Be sure you harvest these items from a reliable person.
*Please recognize that Labrador tea and wormwood are used
as both food and medicine historically. Please practice moderation when consuming. 
Keyword bristol bay, foraged, indigenous, salmon, tundra vinaigrette