By David Draper
Contributing editor David Draper recently returned from a fishing trip in Alaska. While there, we asked him to cover all things salmon—cooking, eating, and, in one case drinking. This is the final story from his trip.
Some weeks ago, having little or no money left in my 401(k), and nothing in particular to interest me in the Lower 48, I thought I would take to the air and see a wilder part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the ennui and replenishing the larder. Whenever I find myself growing grim… Whenever it is a hot and dry summer in my soul… Whenever I find myself pausing involuntary before tackle shops and lingering about boat docks…
That’s when I figure it is high time to get to cooler climes as soon as I can.
My Moby Dick on this adventure was the ivory Chinook, a fish so rare only one in 100 are said to trade red flesh for white. These ghostly king salmon swim among their more typically tinged brethren, and only when you cut into them do you find the ivory as coveted as that from Africa, at least among fish mongers and foodies. They’re thought be lacking in the genetic make-up to absorb Astaxanthin—a caratenoid found in fish’s diet that makes your run-of-the-mill salmon, and lobster shells, red. Whatever it is that makes them mutants, it also makes them delicious.