January 28th 2019

From 1998 to 1999, we lived in Alaska and had one of the best years. I was on a teacher's Fulbright Exchange program at the Martin Luther King Career Center in Anchorage, which was an extraordinary school with amazing teachers and staff. We actually lived 10 miles outside of the city with only six other houses in our neighborhood. We were surrounded by mountains and tall pine trees. We had a family of moose living in our back yard, and the brown bears would periodically run down the street between the houses.

Everyone had to lock their doors and keep the kids inside.

Before leaving our home in Wales, I was led to believe by my exchange partner that it rarely snowed in Alaska, and the temperature didn't get much below zero. Boy was he telling fibs. It snowed for nine months straight, and we had the coldest temperatures in 50 years. The temperature dropped past 20 degrees on quite a number of occasions. The beauty of Alaska and the fabulous people made our year worthwhile. To this day, I have a number of acquaintances, some who still live in Alaska and some who have moved out of state, that I still call good friends.

This recipe has two stories connected with it, one involving my son Mathew and the other my good friend Jim Hollis. At the age of 14 months, my middle son Matthew became a type 1 diabetic. He was the youngest person ever diagnosed in Alaska. Now he's 18 years old. He actually came up with the recipe for the sun set slaw.

We were sitting on our deck in Charlotte a number of years ago. As the sun was setting, he asked, "What's for dinner, Dad?"
I replied, "Look in the fridge and make something up."
He came back with all the vegetables he could find and made this dish. He named it Sun Set Slaw for the colors of the setting sun that happened to be the same as the vegetables in his dish. The second part of the recipe comes from when I went fishing with my good friend Jim Hollis on the turquoise-colored Kenai River in 1999. I caught a 50 pound King salmon. Later that day, I cooked it for family and friends and added thyme and garlic as a seasoning. When Jim and his wife Patty visited Charlotte in 2013, they brought some Alaskan salmon that Jim had caught. We put the two recipes together to make one meal. Although a long story for an easy to make recipe, the flavors, aromas and textures make it worth trying.

As far as nutrition is concerned, salmon, garlic, carrots, jicama, bell peppers, tomatoes, fresh herbs and olive oil gives you moderate amounts of lean proteins, crabs and good fats, vitamin A, C, E, K and minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus. You definitely have a nutritious meal for the whole family. Enjoy!

Pan fried Wild Alaskan Salmon with Sun-Set Slaw
Serves 4

4x 4oz wild Alaskan Salmon fillets
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic crushed
How to make:
Take a medium size sauté pan and place over a medium heat, season each fillet lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the chopped parsley.
Pour the oil into the hot pan, swirl around the base of the pan, and add the salmon fillets one at a time, skin side down. Allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Gently turn each fillet over, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes until done or cooked to your liking. Spoon the oil and garlic over each portion of salmon as it cooks. Remove the fillets from the pan and place onto dish paper to absorb any oil, keep warm. To plate: place a spoon of Sun-set slaw onto each plate and place a salmon fillet next to the slaw, serve and enjoy.

Sun-set slaw
Serves 4

¼ teaspoon cajun seasoning
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon cumin seed
½ tablespoon honey
1 lime - zest and juice of
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup carrot, washed, dried and cut into fine strips
1 cup jicama, washed, peeled and cut into fine strips
½ cup red pepper, seeds removed, cut into fine strips
½ cup yellow pepper, seeds removed, cut into fine strips
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 red Thai chili pepper, cut into fine dice
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon mixed nuts (optional)
How to make:
Place the cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, cumin, honey into a large bowl, add the zest and juice of the lime. Whisk in the oil. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together well, cover with plastic, and place into the refrigerator to infuse the flavors for at least 1 hour. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Chef Mark .

Copyright © 2018, 2019 Mark Allison