Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fresh Copper River salmon arrives at Costco

Fresh, wild-caught Copper River Sockeye Salmon from Alaska prepared with toasted garden herbs.

Late May 2013, Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

By Victor E. Sasson
I could see the distinctive, deep red-orange color of the wild salmon even though I still was 10 feet from the seafood case Saturday at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

Employees on Saturday put out the season's first fresh Copper River sockeye salmon from Alaska at $13.99 a pound -- one dollar a pound less than last year. 

When that's gone, fresh wild salmon from other rivers will be priced at $8.99 a pound, if last year is any guide, and be available until September.

At the other end of the refrigerated Costco case, fat fillets of pale Atlantic salmon were selling for $8.49 a pound  -- no bargain for artificially colored, farmed fish.

I saw fresh Copper River salmon fillets at Wegmans in Woodbridge on Friday for $24.99 a pound.

The Web site of PCC Natural Markets has this to say:
"What’s so special about Copper River salmon? It’s the high oil content, stored up from the salmon’s long journey along the nearly 300-mile Copper River. That extra oil makes the fish among the richest, tastiest fish in the world, tender and moist whether roasted or grilled. Add it to your dinnertime rotation as another great spring tradition."
In 2009, the Copper River salmon arrived at my Costco store on June 2 for only $9.99 a pound. Last year, the first Copper River salmon didn't show up until June 12.

The first Copper River salmon of the season arrived in Washington State on May 17 aboard an Alaska Airlines cargo flight -- in "a public-relations ritual" started more than 23 years ago -- the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

At Costco, I bought a skin-on fillet that weighs about 1.8 pounds. I'll cut it into smaller pieces and bake it in the oven on Sunday with little more than lemon juice, ground Aleppo red pepper and chopped herbs from the garden.

I like my wild salmon rare, and it will melt in my mouth. I'll eat leftovers right out of the fridge over salad.

My fresh Copper River fillet joins other wild sockeye -- frozen fillets and sliced, smoked salmon in my refrigerator -- all from Costco. There's good eating ahead.
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