Crispy Salmon Bacon

One of the top questions we get at the market is, “What is salmon bacon?” The belly, bacon, or toro of the fish is a thin strip of flesh on the bottom of the filet. It is a prized part of any fish. The juicy flesh is full of omega-3 oil and the skin is tender and white due to lack of exposure to the sun.

I had never eaten fresh salmon until stepping on a commercial salmon boat in Alaska. Most boat cooks will bake salmon in an oven for simplicity. I noticed that every time, the skipper scooped up the belly meat before the filet was finished cooking. My friend Sven Haakanson Jr, curator of the Alutiiq Museum of Kodiak, suggested an ethnography entitled Black Ducks and Salmon Bellies. It describes a historical period when sailing ships landed on Kodiak and harvested sockeye salmon. The belly of the fish was salted, sealed in wooden barrels, and sailed back to Europe as a delicacy. The people of Kodiak consider fish belly as almost sacred, to be savored for special occasions and served to honored guests.

Any method of cooking salmon bacon is a nutritious treat, but frying them in a skillet is really worth it. Frying the skin to crispy definitely makes for tasty salmon chicharron! Pick up some sockeye salmon bacon at the growers market and try this simple recipe:

Crispy Salmon Bacon


  • 1/4 cup lard, tallow or ghee
  • 1 pound salmon bellies/bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper


  • Heat skillet and lard.
  • Add salmon bellies one by one, do not crowd the skillet. Let fry until the skin is crispy, then flip. The thin strips of salmon bacon will fry quickly, typically only a minute or few per side is sufficient.
  • Once the bellies are fried, sprinkle salt, pepper and other spices if desired. Great as a main dish or for use on salads or fish tacos.

Notes: If you plan to use vegetable/seed oils in place of lard, don’t bother frying anything. These oils are toxic and not safe for human consumption. As for the skillet; I only use cast iron or stainless steel as non-stick/coated cookware is also toxic.



Fresh Catch – Pacific Cod

The Pacific commercial cod fishery (all 4 gear types) is jointly managed by NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. Our cod is commercially harvested by jig gear in the Gulf of Alaska, Being Sea, and Aleutian Islands management area around Kodiak Island. Fishermen must have a permit to participate in these fisheries, and the number of available permits is limited to control the amount of fishing. Managers determine how much Pacific cod can be caught and then allocate this catch quota among groups of fishermen. Catch is monitored through record keeping, reporting requirements, and observer monitoring. Fishermen must retain all of their Pacific cod catch. Pacific Cod is one of the largest groundfish harvests in the US, with landings of over 500 million pounds on an annual basis. The Alaska cod fishery is certified under two independent certification standards for sustainable fisheries, RFM and MSC

Pacific cod live for 20 years or less and can grow up to 6 feet in length. Females are able to reproduce when they’re 4 or 5 years old; between 1.6 and 1.9 feet long. Pacific cod spawn from January to May on the continental shelf edge and upper slope in waters 330 to 820 feet deep. Females can produce more than 1 million eggs when they spawn. Pacific cod school together and move seasonally from deep outer and upper continental shelf areas (where they spawn) to shallow middle-upper continental shelf feeding grounds. They feed on clams, worms, crabs, shrimp, and juvenile fish.

Wild Pacific Cod, also known as Alaska Cod, Gray Cod, and True cod provides moist, firm filets, a distinctive large flake and a slightly sweet flavor. We just received our first shipment of fresh cod for the season, come see us at the Los Ranchos Growers Market on Saturday and check it out. Here’s a recipe to get you started:

Spring Green Alaska Cod Potato Cakes


Cod Cakes

  • 1 pound Pacific cod filet
  • 1 cup cooked mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh parsley and thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced scallions or chives


Simmer the cod

Fill a large sauté pan or stockpot with enough water to cover seafood and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and gently add seafood to water; return heat to a simmer. Once simmering, cover pan tightly and cook 4-5 minutes for frozen or 2 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Turn off heat and let seafood rest in liquid for 5 minutes, or until seafood is opaque throughout. Remove cod from water; cool slightly and flake into small pieces.

Mix and form cod cakes

Stir together cod, mashed potatoes, scallions, parsley, thyme, garlic and egg just until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 1/4 cup portions; flatten each portion into 3-inch diameter patties.

Fry the cod cakes

Heat butter/oil mixture in a pan over medium heat. Add cakes (in batches) and sauté until browned on both sides; keep warm.

Make yogurt sauce and serve

Blend together feta cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, zest and scallions. Serve sauce with cakes.

Variation: Alaska cod can be poached, steamed, baked or sautéed until opaque throughout; cool slightly before breaking into small flakes.

4 servings prepared and cooked in 30 minutes.


Brenna & Kenny

[ABQ] May Market Specials

To celebrate being back in New Mexico, we’re currently offering some specials for the month of May. Come by Los Ranchos Growers Market to check out our specials on sockeye salmon tails, large keta salmon filets and pork chops. To get market specials, recipes, and more delivered to your inbox, Subscribe to our Newsletter.

In addition to these May specials, we are still offering cases and half cases of sockeye and keta salmon. If you’d like to order in advance, please review our price list.

We have a pork harvest date scheduled soon and intend to have a larger variety of cuts available around early June. If you’re interested in a whole, side, or quarter hog for your freezer, please contact us.

As per customer request, we’ve been uploading fishing photos and videos to Instagram and we’ve also started a YouTube channel. Please check them out and be sure to follow, subscribe, like, comment and share.


Kenny & Brenna

Hello New Mexico

We’re pleased to be back in New Mexico! We’ll begin the Los Ranchos Growers Market this Saturday, May 6. It’s the season opener, so be sure to join us! Ideally, we’ll be there most Saturdays through the end of September. We’ll have a great supply of wild salmon and look forward to seeing you.

This weekend we’ll be stocking our fridge with greens, spring onions, radishes, and micro greens. We’ll also likely pick up plenty of other great local produce we won’t be able to resist.

This year, we’re happy to be back in time to pick up some plant starts too! Definitely planning a salsa garden this season and will likely add some basil and herbs too…who knows what else?

The bakers will have a variety of breads, treats and even gluten free goodies. Be sure to check out the jams and jellies, pies, honey, eggs, coffee, pet treats and more. Market hours for the summer are 8am-11am. Further details available on our market calendar.

See you soon,

Brenna & Kenny