How to cook your catch

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Executive chef Jeremy McLachlan of Salty’s on Alki Beach prepares some seafood dishes for the Lake Washington Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers, held at the Island’s VFW Hall. The class drew a group of 40. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Executive chef Jeremy McLachlan of Salty’s on Alki Beach prepares some seafood dishes for the Lake Washington Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers, held at the Island’s VFW Hall. The class drew a group of 40.
— image credit:

Eileen Mintz
What’s Cooking

Here’s a recipe for a great event. Take one rising star chef from a well-respected restaurant and fill a room with anglers who want to learn how to cook their catch. The results are a fun-filled, educational evening.

That was exactly what happened last week at the Lake Washington Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers when they invited executive chef Jeremy McLachlan of Salty’s on Alki Beach to their fifth annual Virginia J. Secrest Cooking Seminar. Held at the Island’s VFW Hall, the class drew a group of 40.

The cooking seminar was named in memory of Virginia Secrest, seafood chef and beloved wife of member Robert Secrest. The event was planned by board member and Mercer Islander Dr. Robert Faine.

“It only gets better every year,” Faine said. This year was no exception.

“We collected shelled crab, halibut and salmon from our president, Rich Elliot, as well as anglers Dick Streater and Frank Shaver,” said Faine. “I was able to hand-deliver to chef McLachlan at Salty’s in West Seattle the fish and crab that was needed for the class demonstration. The chef at Salty’s took it from there and even came with his sous chef, Paulo Di Gregorio.”

Past years’ rosters of guest chefs have included such illustrious names as Carol Dearth, KCTS-TV host and chef/owner of the RainCity Cooking School; Cynthia Nims, author and food writer; Carol Siebert, chef; and Sharon Kramis, cookbook author, food consultant, chef and past Reporter food columnist.

Faine found authors and chefs who would do the demonstrations and share their recipes, then put together recipe booklets for all in attendance. During the evening he passed out tasting samples to everyone.

McLachlan gave great hints as he taught: “To brine a side of salmon in order to make gravlax, wrap the fish in plastic, but to be sure to poke a hole in the plastic to let moisture out,” he said.

In making the crab salad, he suggested using only diced tomato skins for texture. Other suggestions included serving seafood salad in a half coconut shell and to use strong herbs such as dill sparingly because they can easily overpower some types of fish.

The Lake Washington chapter of anglers holds monthly meetings. Their goal is to promote and enhance the Lake Washington fishery, says Faine. The chapter is presently involved in a number of activities, such as input to Cedar River Sockeye Hatchery expansion, a Coho Salmon Incubator Project, teaching children how to fish from Lake Washington docks, fishing technique classes through the Parks Department, public education tours and sponsoring a fishing derby. For more information, visit or contact vice president Roger Urbaniak at (425) 894-0652.

I hope you enjoy the following recipes, tested and tasted by the anglers themselves!


Serves 3-4.

6 slices of house cured salmon

1/4 cup preserved lemon relish

4 baguettes, sliced and toasted

Italian parsley, chopped

Place sliced salmon on the toasted baguette slices, then top with the lemon relish and the chopped parsley.


1 side salmon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/8 cup gin

6 thyme sprigs

Clean the salmon fillet and then take all the back fat off. Sprinkle with the gin and the thyme sprigs.

Mix the kosher salt and the brown sugar and rub all over the salmon.

Wrap in plastic and place in fridge with a weight on it for 48 hours. Make sure to change liquid drainage regularly. (Hint: poke a hole in the plastic wrap to release moisture)

When ready to use, rinse with cold water and pat dry with a towel. Slice razor thin at an angle, going from collar to tail with the knife.


1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, no seeds, use skin only

1/4 cup chopped preserved lemons (make yourself or buy them)

1 TBS. minced shallot

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 TBS. chopped parsley

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 TBS. capers, rinsed well

1/4 cup olive oil

Dash of black pepper

Combine ingredients. Serve with house cured salmon on a baguette.


1 lb. Dungeness crab

3 avocados, diced

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

2 limes, juiced

1 each jalapeno, diced

1 bunch cilantro

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except crab. Re-season if necessary, then fold crab in gently. Serve with tortilla chips or on a salad. Can even serve in a coconut shell!


Serves 4

4 6-oz. fillets of salmon

8 oz. crab stuffing (recipe follows)

1 cup white wine

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Take the salmon fillets and cut a slit in the side of each. Stuff each one with 2 oz. of the crab stuffing. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and heat up an oven-safe saut/ pan or fry pan. Pour the wine into the pan, then place the stuffed salmon in the pan. Season with salt and pepper and let the wine come to a boil.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 8-12 minutes: 8 minutes if you like medium rare, 12 if you like medium well. Serve with a buerre blanc sauce.


1/4 cup Dungeness crab

2 TBS. chevre or goat cheese

1 TBS. cream cheese

1 tsp. chopped Italian parsley

1/2 tsp. chopped tarragon

1/4 tsp. chopped thyme

1 lemon, juiced

2 TBS. hydrated sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

Salt and white pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and season to taste.


2 cups white wine

1 TBS. sliced shallot

1 tsp. whole peppercorns

1 tsp. dried thyme

Bay leaf

1 lb. butter

Salt to taste

1 tsp. lemon juice

Reduce the wine with the peppercorns, shallot, thyme and bay leaf until there is barely any liquid left.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, keeping a constant, low temperature between 140-160 degrees. Strain the sauce and finish with salt to taste and lemon juice.


Serves 2

2 8-oz. halibut fillets

Salt and pepper

2 TBS. fresh herb mix

2 TBS. olive oil

2 5-oz. portions of mashed purple potatoes

2 1.5-oz portions of chevre herb butter

Season the halibut with the salt and pepper. Crust the top of the fish in the herb medley. Pan-sear the fish at medium high heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (chef likes canola oil) until golden brown. Place in a 350-degree oven for 5-8 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.


1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp. chopped fresh chives

1 TBS. chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Mix herbs and reserve. Note: also good for garnishing the dish afterward.


2 TBS. butter

2 TBS. chevre (goat cheese)

1 tsp. minced shallot

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. herb mix

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


1 pound purple potatoes, peeled, with no white showing

4 Tbs. butter

Kosher salt to taste

In medium saucepan, boil potatoes in water until soft and drain for 5 minutes. Put drained potatoes in mixing bowl. Add butter and salt, and mash.

To serve: Place the mashed purple potatoes in the center of the plate and top with fillet of halibut. Top with herbed chevre butter and serve immediately.


Serves 6.


1 TBS.butter

11/2 lbs Dungeness crab, broken into small sections

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup carrot, chopped

1/4 cup tomato, chopped

1 TBS. garlic, chopped

2 TBS. tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine

24 oz. fish stock

1tsp. thyme

1 TBS. paprika

1/8 tsp. cayenne

1 stalk lemon grass

2 kafir lime leaves

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste


1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and pureed

1/2 yellow pepper, roasted, peeled seeded and pureed

1 cup cr

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