A question that sometimes comes up is, what do Alaskans eat? For the most part, we eat like the rest of the USA. We get most of the same national brands that can be found in the lower 48. Kraft Mac N Cheese is big. Lunch meat and canned tuna. Fresh produce is available, but can often cost double to triple of what someone in Arizona will pay for it. However, we do have some unique foods available as near as Costco. King crab legs, reindeer sausage, and smoked salmon to name a few. Jams and jellies made from local berries go great with that jar of Jif you picked up last week. And because there are people hunt and fish with the intent of filling their super-sized freezer, school lunches can look at little different than the kids in Boulder are eating.
Tuna salad sandwiches? Forget it. My nephews took salmon salad sandwiches to school because my brother loved to fish all summer. Other folks I know eat moose burger instead of beef. Moose roast cooks up quite well in the crockpot. Some friends swear by bear pepperoni. Uck. Then again, a while back Boone Brux posted a recipe for Whale Stew. Makes enough to feed the entire village, and then some.
So what is my favorite Alaska dish? You can keep the salmon. I’ll gladly accept some moose burger if you have some to spare. I can buy reindeer sausage at Costco. I’ll never turn down crab, shrimp or scallops. But if you have some fresh halibut to spare, well, you’ve found my favorite.
There are two ways I like best to fix it. One is to deep fry it in beer or tempura batter. Messy and time consuming, but oh-so-yummy! Serve with tartar sauce and fries for excellent fish and chips. But the easiest is simply to bake it. This probably isn’t what your doctor would recommend for healthy eating, but the following recipe always gets me raves.
|The O'Reilly guys and some fish. Not all were theirs,|
but they brought home a nice pile of 'buts.
- Halibut filet
- Lemon, sliced thin into half rounds
- Stick of butter, sliced into thin pats
- Preheat oven to 350 degF.
- Start with a halibut filet or two. The thicker the better. I like to remove the skin, but it’s not necessary. I think it tastes better. Wash with cool water and pat dry.
- With a sharp knife cut into the meat, stopping before cutting all the way through. Make several cuts, about one inch apart. Place in baking pan.
- Rub the filet with mayonnaise, getting down into the cuts. Stuff the cuts with slices of lemon and pats of butter.
- Bake until halibut is opaque and flakes with a fork, about 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet. Remove the lemon slices and serve with sides of choice. Garnish with fresh lemon slices if desired.
I haven’t made this dish in quite some time, so I’m sad to say I don’t have any photos. Now if you’re really feeling adventurous, you could top off that meal with some Eskimo ice cream. Or, a blueberry pie made from the wild blueberries picked last August. Since I don’t have any blueberries on hand, I’ll be making brownies for my dinner guests coming over next week.
Have a question about food to be found? Toss it out! I have cook books galore from this church or that bazaar. I’ll see what I can find.
Oh, and gratuitous cute puppy pictures, because, well, that's what I'm doing these days, playing puppy mom. Meet Neo the wonder pup! Now two days shy of ten weeks.
Neo's idea of a moose meal.
Morgan Q. O'Reilly
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