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A Hawaiian treat with an Alaskan twist.

Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures have an ancient relationship with Alaska, and today Pacific Islanders comprise the largest growing ethnic community in Alaska. Anchorage alone has a Polynesian florist, various Hawaiian restaurants, and a handful of Samoan churches. If you look a little harder in some convenience stores, you’ll find the piece of culinary heaven brought to us from the south Pacific, the Hawaiian delicacy known simply as “musubi.”

There are various types of musubi, which is a brick of rice topped with protein (most commonly SPAM) and wrapped in roasted seaweed known as nori. As strange as it may sound, it is the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and savory. It’s quite filling, and is perfect for breakfast, a quick lunch, or a midnight snack. It’s even rumored to cure a hangover. If SPAM is not your first choice when it comes to tasty treats, musubi is also often cooked with chicken, pork, egg, or even hot dogs. Here, however, we’ll fuse my favorite Hawaiian treat with Alaskan silver salmon served with a wasabi slaw sweetened with apples and Alaskan carrots.

SLAW

Ingredients

2 large Alaskan carrots, shredded
1 Honeycrisp apple, shredded
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1-2 tsp wasabi paste
2 tsp sugar (adjust to preference)
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
Small handful cilantro, chopped
Salt

Directions

Combine vinegar, wasabi, and sugar (optional) in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add carrots, apples, and sesame seeds. Toss to combine and coat thoroughly with vinegar solution. Add cilantro and salt to taste.

MUSUBI

Ingredients

2 6-oz silver salmon fillets (I use tailpieces because they are thinner and fatty)
1 cup sushi rice
½ cup rice vinegar, divided 2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Sriracha
1 sheet of nori, cut into four equal strips
Salt and pepper

Directions

Combine ¼ cup rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sriracha in bowl and whisk together. Cut each salmon fillet in two equal pieces and cover with vinegar solution; marinate for 4 hours. I like to cook my salmon with the skin on; if you prefer it without skin, remove it prior to marinating. Wash rice and cook according to package directions; while fluffing rice, add ¼ cup rice vinegar, and the sugar and salt for seasoning. Dry salmon with paper towel and place skin side down on a lightly oiled, smoking hot skillet. After about 3-4 minutes, flip the fish to reveal beautiful and crispy skin, the perfect contrast to the soft rice.

Finish cooking salmon (2-3 min) and set aside. Using a musubi mold or your hands, press rice into four bricks or balls roughly the same size as your salmon pieces and top rice with the salmon skin-side up. Wrap nori around the musubi and it is ready to serve alongside the slaw.

Andrew Maxwell is the head chef at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark National Park.

Author

Andrew Maxwell is the chef at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Email Andrew at [email protected]

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