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Future of fish: wild vs. farm

Try them both with our recipe for Moroccan salmon skewers

The man behind the fish counter warned me that I had better get used to eating farmed fish, because soon that would be the only fish we'd be able to buy.

Not being a fan of farmed fish, I called my fish experts: Cousin Valerie and her husband Jeff Folkema, owners of the Garibaldi Marina on Tillamook Bay. They have lived and breathed fishing for more than 20 years; I wanted their perspective on what the shortened commercial fishing season would mean to us consumers.

I could visualize Jeff tipping back in his chair, removing his baseball cap and smoothing his hair as he assured me that things weren't going to be that bad.

'You will always be able to get wild fish - you may have to come fishing yourself, though,' he said. 'Sport fishing isn't restricted. People ought to come out and do what the fisherman does every day: Try his luck against Mother Nature.'

He continued, 'Next to Alaska, Oregon has some of the best fishing on Earth. How can man in his wildest dreams think that aquaculture can produce a product better than Mother Nature?'

Jeff waxed on about how fishing is more than just limiting out by the end of the day.

'Looking back on the land, while you are at sea gives you a totally different perspective of where we live. The 'hunting, gathering' aspect of fishing and consuming what you catch makes you feel in closer connection to nature. What journey has this fish taken? It's been fighting currents its whole life - that has to affect its taste. Once you catch a wild fish in the ocean, you will recognize that as some of the best fish you've ever eaten.

'After you've spent the day onboard the boat with the wind and waves working against you, fighting this fish that finally succumbs to the survival of the fittest, you will be changed.'

Are you hooked yet? Let's go fishing!

Jeff suggested there were other fish in the sea besides salmon: Halibut, tuna, rock cod and sea bass.

One of my favorite hors d'oeuvres is this recipe of Moroccan Salmon Skewers. The recipe directions call for using a 400-degree oven; don't worry - these cook quickly so the oven won't be on too long in the summer heat!

Moroccan Salmon Skewers

Makes 2 ½ dozen

1 ½ teaspoons whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ pounds salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into ¾-inch square pieces

Serve with Citrus Dipping Sauce*

Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) combine the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Grind until the coriander is just broken - do not overprocess. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl and toss with salt and pepper.

Dip one side of the salmon into the spice mixture to coat heavily. Repeat with all the squares.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Do not add any oil. Place the salmon squares, spice side down, into the pan. Cook until the spices are dry, golden and toasted, about 4 minutes. Immediately transfer the pan to the oven to cook until the salmon is just cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer salmon bites to a serving platter and skewer with toothpicks.

Citrus Dipping Sauce - mix 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ¼ cup fresh orange juice in a small sauce pan and boil to reduce until thick and syrupy. Let cool. Add one cup plain yogurt and stir to combine.

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Hors D'oeuvres Handbook

Barb Randall welcomes your questions and food research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.