SALMON PHO BROTH:
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small Alaska Grown yellow onion, peeled and halved
3 garlic cloves , smashed
5 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger
1 wild Alaska Salmon head, gills removed, and rinsed in cold water
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
6 to 8 quarts water or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon sriracha (optional)
NOODLES AND VEGETABLES:
1 package (8 ounces) rice vermicelli
1/2 Alaska Grown onion, julienned (about 1 cup)
1 Alaska Grown carrot, julienned (about 1 cup)
1/2 Alaska Grown zucchini, julienned (about 1 cup)
1/2 Alaska Grown “snow apple” (turnip) or daikon radish, julienned
1 cup Alaska Grown leafy greens, such as kale or chard cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
Fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves, torn cilantro, for garnish, as desired
PAN-SEARED SALMON FILLETS (optional):
4 Alaska salmon portions (3 oz. each), skinless and pin bones removed
Ground cinnamon, ground star anise and salt, to taste
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Chop salmon head in half and add to pot along with cinnamon stick, star anise and water. Let simmer 2 hours, adding more water, as needed (so head is submerged while cooking). Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving head and discarding the rest. Stir in ground cinnamon and ground star anise, hoisin and sriracha, if desired. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Set aside.
Place rice noodles in a large bowl. Boil enough water to cover noodles; pour over noodles. Cover with plastic until noodles are soft and tender.
If topping pho with additional salmon pieces, dry salmon with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Season with cinnamon, ground star anise and salt. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and place fish in pan. Cook approximately 2 minutes, flip and cook another 1 or 2 minutes until desired temperature; set aside.
To serve, drain noodles and divide evenly among 4 large bowls. Top with vegetable strips, herbs and pieces of cooked salmon—either the individual portions or meat from the head or smoked salmon. Pour broth over all; garnish with sprouts, basil leaves and cilantro.
Recipe by Chef Rob Kinneen, Fork Catering, Anchorage, AK
“This pho is based on an indigenous Alaskan fish head soup. Traditionally the heads were cooked down long enough to leach calcium, supplementing an otherwise dairy free culture. If you don’t have a fish head handy, try using frames or even fillet scraps.”