Serious Sockeye Strategy

Scott Moorehead sells fresh sockeye on Granville Island. (Margaret Gallagher)

So you know that there’s fresh sockeye salmon for sale, you figure it’s time to buy some…and then what? How do you choose it? Prepare it? Store it?

It’s best to get your advice from an expert. Scott Moorehead of Granville Island’s Longliner Seafood was recently interviewed on CBC Radio One’s The Early Edition and here are his top 10 tips, as featured on CBC British Columbia.

1. Shop with your eyes, nose and touch.

Look for firm flesh and shiny skin.

The insides should be clean (don’t buy fish with the guts in, as it will spoil faster) and the skin unbroken.

Beware of any “fishy” smells.

2. Keep it simple when cooking.

Fresh sockeye has a distinct flavour, and doesn’t need much fussing in the kitchen, says Moorehead.

“I usually keep it really simple. Olive oil, lemon juice, maybe some chopped shallots or green onions. Baste it on and just enjoy.”

3. Oven vs. BBQ?

Moorehead says the oven’s even temperature makes it an ideal way to cook fish, but with warmer weather the barbecue beckons.

“It’s up to you.”

4. Don’t be a cold fish (cooker).

Moorehead recommend letting fish come to room temperature first.

“If you put it straight on the grill out of the fridge, it’s like an insulating layer where it won’t cook to the centre, and it’s really hard to judge the cooking time.”

(Note: For food safety you must cook the fish right away; do NOT put it back in the fridge.)

5. To flip or not to flip?

If you’re cooking a fillet on the grill, there’s no need to flip your fish.

Lay it skin side down on an oiled grill, close the lid, and keep the temperature even and not too hot.

6. Vent your foil.

Foil is a great insulator, but it will also steam your fish. If you choose to use foil, Moorehead recommends leaving a top vent to let the steam escape.

7. Cook for 10 minutes per inch (or less).

Moorehead considers his sockeye done when it’s cooked all the way through and flakes and separates with a fork, but says others may prefer it more “on the rare side.”

He uses a guideline of 10 minutes per inch of fish.

8. Freeze what you’ll need for a meal.

Cut fish into the portions you’ll need for a meal. “If you freeze a whole fish, you’ll have to use the whole fish at one time,” cautions Moorehead.

Freeze family size portions, wrapped tightly to keep the air out, and stored in the darkest, coldest part of your freezer.

9. Freeze only what you can eat in the next few months.

Moorehead warns again freezing large amounts of fish for the year, especially if you’re storing it in a freezer that’s opened frequently.

Fluctuations in light and temperature will begin to degrade the fish quality.

Later in the year, he recommends buying fish that’s been commercial frozen and stored.

10. Eat it fresh while it lasts.

“It’s available now and the season’s short, so get out there,” says Moorehead.

Scrumptious Seafood: Fresh Salmon Burgers with Tarragon Mayonnaise

Photo by Lara Ferroni

It’s (almost!) Labour Day long weekend and what better way to wrap up summer than a gourmet burger filled with freshly caught salmon? Get yourself down to the Steveston Public Sales Float, then give this Bon Appetit recipe, via epicurious, a whirl!


  • 1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon drained small capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 slices brioche loaf or egg bread, toasted
  • 4 large tomato slices
  • 8 radicchio leaves
  • tarragon mayonaise


To make burgers:
Combine first 9 ingredients in medium bowl. Add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and mix well. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix breadcrumbs into salmon mixture. Form into four 1-inch-thick patties. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon patties; cook until just firm to touch and brown and crusty, about 3 minutes per side.

To assemble:
Place 1 slice of toast on each of 4 plates. Top each with burger. Spread burgers generously with mayonnaise. Top each with tomato slice, 2 radicchio leaves and second toast slice. Serve immediately, passing remaining mayonnaise separately.

Music At The Cannery: Robert Hubele

Robert Hubele (pronounced Hue-bell-E, like Jubilee) was the latest in our line up of talented performers for Music at the Cannery. With a cooperatively bright sun, a captivating artist, and our comfortable (almost surprisingly so) chairs out on the tank deck, the show was again a major success! We managed to draw a full house within minutes of half past six.

Hubele performed songs that were each unique, with a blues, jazz, pop, or country twist – not only that, but every song was written by the man himself.


Bocephus King will sadly not be joining us this Friday as previously scheduled. We are, however, extremely thrilled to announce that Mark Petersen will be joining us in the King’s stead! A local Vancouver blues and rock artist, he is sure to rock the socks off the crowd. Be sure to catch this guaranteed to be amazing, razzle-dazzling, penultimate show of Music at the Cannery! (And be sure to catch yourself some berry wine and cannery beer as well, while you’re at it.)

Come and get your sockeye cleaned!

fish cleaning posterIf you head down to the Steveston Public Sales Float and happen to buy yourself a whole salmon -’in the round’, as they say- stop by the Cannery to have it cleaned! We’ve got a team of experienced volunteers happy to help you out with the messy work, like gutting your fish and removing the head. Cleaning is by donation and subject to volunteer availability.

The Cannery is getting a face lift!

Restoration project photo (550px)

As some Steveston neighbours may have already noticed, there are sections of the Cannery building currently ‘under wraps’.

The reason why, you may ask?  Well, thanks to Parks Canada, our 120 year-old building is getting a fresh coat of paint! In order to do this, the existing layer of old lead paint must first be carefully removed; the plastic wrap has been placed to keep the old paint from falling into the river below. Workers will also replace any rotten wood and reglaze the windows.

In a few months, the newly restored areas will be painted in bright new Canfisco red and white!

Music at the Cannery: Irish Wakers

On August 8th, Friday last, the Irish Wakers charmed at the Music at the Cannery series with Michael Burnyeat on the fiddle as a special guest.


The 2014 Music at the Cannery series has been, for the most part, graced with excellent weather. And last Friday was no exception; Irish jigs and Maritime reels were paired with hot sun and blue skies, bringing to mind the feeling of a salt lashed sea voyage.

It made for an energetic, animated evening that left all in attendance smiling and good-humoured.

Like the week before it, all seats on the tank deck were taken by ten past six. However, many decided to stay even so and enjoy the music in the park. Not a bad idea, considering the nice soft grass and nearby ice cream stand!


There are now only three shows left for Music at the Cannery this summer – next week is Robert Hubele playing original jazz, pop, country and blues. Be sure to arrive by about 6pm to ensure a seat on the tank deck. And, as always, concession and cash bar are available.

Salmon barbecue funds new teacher resource

salmon bbq2014

This past weekend, the Cannery hosted a salmon barbecue at Britannia Heritage Shipyard’s Maritime Festival. For 7 hours on Saturday and Sunday, a fantastic crew of volunteers grilled salmon, chopped veggies, and served up numerous plates of salmon burgers. The food was generously donated by Canfisco and Save-On-Foods. In addition to the Cannery’s reliable . . . → Read More: Salmon barbecue funds new teacher resource

Scrumptious Seafood: Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Citrus Glaze

Sockeye season is open, so get yourself a fresh filet and give this simple yet scrumptious recipe from the Monterey Bay Aquarium‘s Seafood Watch a go!

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6) 1 side of skin-on sockeye salmon, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, pin bones removed 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons lemon zest 1 . . . → Read More: Scrumptious Seafood: Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Citrus Glaze

Friday Night Jazz with Hasselbach

08-01 Hasselbach 3

Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, a multi-instrumental jazz musician, performed at the latest of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s Music at the Cannery series last Friday August 1st.

As one might expect, the very talented JUNO award winning artist drew quite a large crowd and by 6:15, 15 minutes prior to the show’s start, all 150 . . . → Read More: Friday Night Jazz with Hasselbach

Scrumptious Seafood: Cedar-Planked Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze

Cedar-Planked Salmon With Maple-Mustard Glaze Photography by Jeff Coulson

The salmon are on their way! Soak your cedar planks, fire up the BBQ and get ready to give this delectable Canadian Living recipe a whirl.

Ingredients 1-1/2 lb (680 g) salmon fillet 1/4 cup (60 mL) maple syrup 2 tbsp (30 mL) grainy Dijon . . . → Read More: Scrumptious Seafood: Cedar-Planked Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze