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Salmon, Chanterelles, and Wild Berries: A Fabulous Pacific NW Seafood Dish

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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Salmon, chanterelles, and wild berries with rice

Salmon, chanterelles, and wild berries with rice

A Taste of the Pacific Northwest

This dish is truly a representation of the foods from my little corner of the world. I live in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State to be exact, on the wet (west) side of the Cascade Mountains. To the north is British Columbia, to the south is Oregon, and on the west is the Pacific Ocean.

My family and I live in a two-story farmhouse tucked deep in the woods. Our “neighbors” are Douglas fir trees and western red cedars and under their spreading branches are hazelnut trees, huckleberry bushes, and wild blackberry vines. And in autumn we have one more gift—the wild chanterelle mushroom. That is the inspiration for this dish.

What Are the Basic Ingredients?

The basic components of this dish represent some of the finest foods the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelles are a special treat in my little corner of Washington State. Their season is short and they grow under only very specific conditions. Chanterelles can't be cultivated; every mushroom is scavenged in the woods and picked by hand.

They range in color from golden to bright orange and have a ruffled cap that looks like an umbrella turned inside out by the wind. They're dense and meaty, have a nutty flavor, and have an aroma reminiscent of apricots or peaches.

Because they grow in the woods, the caps and gills tend to pick up little bits of soil or tree needles, but please don't wash them to get them clean. Use a small brush to sweep those little nooks and crannies.

Chanterelles are happy with many different cooking companions—sauté them in butter, pair them with poultry or firm white fish, add them to steamed potatoes, or douse them with cream. Alcohol such as white wine, vermouth, or sherry enhances the chanterelle’s flavors.

One more note—some mushrooms (for example, button mushrooms) can be eaten raw. Chanterelles should always be cooked before eating.

Crimini (Brown) Mushrooms

Criminis (sometimes called baby portabellas) are round and firm, and easy to clean and slice. They look like baby button (white) mushrooms but are brown/tan in color. I use them because they have more umami flavor.

Wild Pacific Salmon

The world of salmon can be divided into two distinct categories. If you want wild-caught salmon, you are asking for Pacific salmon. And then there is Atlantic salmon. That’s not to say that one cannot catch salmon in the Atlantic Ocean, but any Atlantic salmon that you purchase in the grocery store or at a fishmonger will be farm-raised. If you can, I recommend Pacific salmon, and these are the best:

  • King (also known as Chinook): This “king” of salmon has earned its name because it is the best tasting. It has high-fat content, and that’s what makes it so luscious.
  • Sockeye (also known as Red): The meat of this salmon is bright orange-red and rich in flavor. They are called reds because when they move upstream to spawn they develop a startlingly bright red color.
  • Silver (also known as Coho Salmon): These are so named because of their silvery skin. The flesh is bright red and is slightly less “fishy” tasting than King/Chinook.

Huckleberries or Blueberries

Red huckleberries are deciduous shrubs growing up to 13 feet in height. New growth is bright green; older stems are dark brown to black. Like blueberries, the flower blossoms are bell-shaped, creamy white to pale pink. The berries are round, flared at the crown end and quite small (about 1/4 of an inch across) and are orange-red to red in color.

If red huckleberries are not available in your area, fresh blueberries are a great substitute.

Blackberries

One stab of a blackberry thorn will make it clear that this sweet, edible fruit is a not-too-distant cousin of the rosebush. Blackberries are perennial fruits that blossom and grow on two-year-old canes. Native Americans used the fruits not only as food but brewed tea from the roots, used the stems to make rope, and employed the juice to dye fabrics and darken hair.

When ripe, blackberries have a deep inky sheen with purple highlights. They are succulent, soft, and juicy. Their flavor is sweet, slightly tart. The exact taste is between a green and red grape, but sweeter.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

20 min

25 min

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces fresh salmon filet
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup fresh wild berries (mix of blackberries and huckleberries, or 1/2 cup dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Inspect the salmon filet for bones. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Place the salmon filet, skin side down, in the saute pan. Cover and saute until cooked through, about 7 minutes (internal temperature of 145°F.)
  2. Remove salmon from the pan and set aside; cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the same pan and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with sherry, then add the half and half. Continue to cook until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  5. Break the cooked salmon into chunks (bite-size or a bit larger) and add to the pan. Don't include the skin (it should separate very easily from the cooked meat). Simmer for a minute or two to heat through.
  6. Serve over rice and garnish with berries, parsley, and hazelnuts.

© 2021 Linda Lum

Comments

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 02, 2021:

Chanterelles are not a must in this recipe. You can have equally wonderful results with oyster, shiitake, porcini, etc. Thanks for commenting. Yes, salmon is rich in Omega 3's and is a good health choice.

Adrienne Farricelli on September 02, 2021:

This recipe is very tempting. I love salmon and it's so good for you if you get the wild version. Too bad I can't find chanterelles locally, but I guess other types of mushrooms can do.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 01, 2021:

Manatita, that is exactly what I do for my daughter Megan. She does not eat salmon anymore, but loves the mushrooms. I mix of chanterelles, crimini, shiitake, and oyster is amazing!

manatita44 from london on September 01, 2021:

The mushrooms look really delicious. I would most certainly love to taste them. I also like the black and other berries. That's it!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on September 01, 2021:

Rachel, salmon and berries were made for each other. My family enjoys this dish very much, and I hope you will too.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on September 01, 2021:

Two of my favorite foods, salmon and blackberries; actually any berry. This dish looks so refreshing and appetizing. Thanks for the idea and recipe.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 30, 2021:

Oh Doris, how I've missed you! This "find it in your feed" thing isn't working too well. At first it was OK, but I think things have declined.

Anyhow, I don't actually do the foraging. I rely on a trained eye for that. Morels are an entirely different species. The taste (and aroma) is totally different. I think any mix of mushrooms would be wonderful in this dish. Shiitakes are great (remove the stems, of course), and oyster mushrooms are a-l-m-o-s-t as good as chanterelles.

Yes, we are moving from our little Paradise. I am sad to leave, but we will be downsizing and moving closer to our daughter and son-in-law so that they can help us out.

So glad you found me.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 30, 2021:

Sha, some of it is sweet, and some is quite dry. The flavors are more nuanced. It's stronger, and the flavors remind me of hazelnuts.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 30, 2021:

Linda, I haven't been able to find your Monday articles in the feed lately. I had to turn off my notifications. I'm glad I found this one. I know I'd enjoy the mushrooms in the dish, but I don't pick wild mushrooms. Some people in the Ozarks do, but we have too many poisonous ones, and I wouldn't trust my judgment. People in the Ozark Mountains make money from harvesting morel mushrooms here, but I don't know if the chanterelles grow in our climate.

It is good to read another of your fine articles and touch base with you again, my friend. Are you moving from your home? It sounds like Paradise there?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 30, 2021:

Thank you Denise. I'd love to hear your husband's critique.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 30, 2021:

Linda, I don't even know what sherry tastes like. My thought is that it's sweet. I don't like sweet wine.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 30, 2021:

Oh, these mushrooms look amazing. I don't see anything like that here in the hot Central Valley of CA. Too bad, too. I'd love to go mushroom foraging. Thanks for the recipe. I'll present it to my hubby who loves salmon.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 30, 2021:

Shauna, white would be great. Doesn't have the same flavor, but still certainly compatible. I hope you can give this a try.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 30, 2021:

This sounds delicious, Linda. I love salmon. In fact, that's what I made for dinner last night.

You're fortunate to have chanterelles literally growing in your back yard. What fun!

I don't keep sherry in the house, but I always have a bottle of red and white for cooking. Could I use white wine to deglaze?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 29, 2021:

Liza, thank you so much. It would be a great dis to serve at a festive time.

Liza from USA on August 29, 2021:

This could be a great recipe to try! We love salmon and prefer eating salmon during the holidays when we were gathering at my mother's in-law house. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Love it!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 28, 2021:

Pamela, the dish looks and tastes complicated, but it's really quite easy. I think you would enjoy it. Sadly, we will be leaving our home, trees, wild berries, hazelnuts, and mushrooms but I know I can obtain those ingredients in the grocery store too. Yes, we've made it many times.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 28, 2021:

Misbah, of course you can omit the berries. Our family likes the contrast of sweet and salty/savory but it's not to everyone's taste. Thank you for stopping by to comment. May you have a blessed weekend.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 28, 2021:

The description of your home sounds like paradise, Linda. This dish makes my mouth water. It looks so delicious.

I like all of your pictures. so I assume you have made this delicious dish recently.

I don't cook very much any more, my husband does more than half of our meals. I would like to try this dish however. Thanks for another terrific recipe!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on August 28, 2021:

Linda, This looks very delicious. Salmon and mushrooms are two foods that I enjoy. Is it possible to leave the berries out of this? After the meal, I can eat them with any dessert. ;)

Thank you so much for sharing. Love as always

Blessings and Hugs!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 28, 2021:

Bill, I'll gladly eat your share of the mushrooms. But, you grow berries and don't eat them??

Off to the dump. I can totally relate. And I'm now on a first-name basis with the good people at Goodwill.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 28, 2021:

Now you're talking my language. Push aside the berries and mushrooms, and this is a perfect meal. :)

Off to the dump I go, one of my favorite Saturday morning activities. Happy Weekend, my friend!

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