It seems to be salmon season around these parts. This just so happens to dovetail nicely with soup season, as luck would have it. Last weekend, I accompanied my precocious four year old, Lily, on a special school field trip to the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Her preschool is currently doing a unit on salmon, includes obtaining their own salmon eggs to hatch, and they wanted to seize the seasonal opportunity. So I took the morning off work, packed our lunches, and headed east into the gorgeous Gorge.
As it happens, this was a place I had visited years and years ago with Donna, not long after we first reunited, on one of our early visits with her whole family. Understandably, the Kellys enjoyed showing off their fabulous state, and seeing the salmon jumping up a fish ladder and watching them pour through a counting station at an underground viewing window is quite the fascinating Oregon experience. But I hadn’t realized we were headed to the exact same place until we arrived and I instantly remembered my first experience there. I never would have predicted that one day I’d be living here myself – it’s amazing how life works out sometimes, is it not? We had a fabulous, if very wet, day, and I bought Lily a stuffed Chinook salmon (pictured above) at the hatchery gift shop.
A final serendipitous moment awaited me. Craving salmon after all this – I really have embraced my inner omnivore, haven’t I? – I decided to hit a New Seasons (glorious Portland area food lover’s shangri-la) on our way back. Lo, whole salmon was on sale for $5.99 a pound! This soup was simply meant to be. Serendipity again. They were kind enough to sell me just half of one, filet it AND give me all the trimmings for stock, and thus I happily spent the remainder of the day making stock using this recipe. I froze two of the filets for future fun, seared one to eat immediately, and used the other in this impromptu gluten-free, dairy-free chowder.