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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  1. There's nothing like this special fish and the river it comes from. I too stock up at Costco annually (Clifton & Wayne NJ locations). I put mine in a zip lock bag with lots of water and freeze it for thawing several months later. Frozen this way, even into winter, the flavor and quality is still there. I use a cedar plank and rub the salmon with "Rub With Love" which you can get here (or at Chef's central in Paramus):

    http ://

    I first had it this way at Etta's in Seattle's Pike Place Market area. I highly recommend trying it this way.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Why do you put water in the bag? Wouldn't the fish freeze as well if you just wrapped it in plastic wrap or does the water protect it from freezer burn?

    You probably know you can buy frozen Alaskan sockeye salmon at Costco year-round, but I guess you are saying this method of freezing yields a far-better tasting fish.

  3. Hi Victor, I think the freezing of fish in water has something to do with the water forming an airtight seal around the fish. Yes, I have noticed the frozen wild salmon at Costco too, but have not tried it.

  4. The frozen salmon can't match the fresh, wild stuff, but when steamed, it's a tasty substitute.

  5. I used to love buying the Copper River marinated salmon sold as six fillets wrapped in individual plastic to be baked, grilled, microwaved, etc. I enjoyed them because they had no added sugar. Now they've removed that product and inserted one with added sugar ; I'll never buy the latter type; when will Copper River return the former type without the added sugar?

  6. Why did Copper River Salmon Products Company change their marinated salmon fillets to include added sugar? In the past I used to buy the ones without added sugar from CostCo in Honolulu but now I just ignore them because the current ones have added sugar.

  7. I'm not familiar with this product, but know Costco Wholesale stores don't always carry the same items.

    In New Jersey, the first fresh wild salmon fillets that show up when the season starts are from the Copper River in Alaska, and they are priced accordingly.

    Later, other wild salmon fillets show up at a much lower price, as I noted in the above post.


Please try to stay on topic.