Leek and Fennel Stuffed Salmon with Charcoal Lemonade

From legendary winter seasons to magical summers, Fernie has so much to offer when it comes to spending time in the outdoors. Combine your love for food with the outdoor culture so prevalent in this area!

June 15 marked the opening day of the Elk River for fly fishing and people from all over the world come to Fernie to fish the worldcclass Elk River, the Wigwam and surrounding lakes and creeks peppered through the valley. There’s no better way to spend a summer day or warm fall afternoon, drifting down the Elk or walking and wading the beautiful purple and lime green river rocks of the Wigwam.

Fly fishing is meditative with its relaxing and rhythmic casting techniques it allows you to turn on your senses and tune in to the natural world around you.

One element about fly fishing is that it’s about being in the present and being aware of your natural surroundings; every fish that rises, the water temperature, shifts in the wind and being in the right place at the right time for a hatch, all bring you to being in the moment on the river with very little room for your mind to wander far from the water’s edge.

The majority of rivers in this area are catch and release for conservation and protecting fragile mountain river systems, though there are a couple of sections where the populations are healthy enough to keep your daily limit on species. I should note that it’s not as common for fly fisherman to keep there catch but if you feel the urge, spin casting is a more common approach to fishing for food. Make sure to check the BC Fishing Regulations for the areas where you can harvest fish.

Some of the local species which can be prepared in various ways are:

Bull Trout: A Char of the Salmonidae family, similar in flesh to Arctic Char, it can be filleted or cut into steaks. Bull Trout is an endangered species in Alberta, but there are healthy populations within our area which you can harvest fish.

Cutthroat Trout: A Salmonid family member, soft, fine textured flesh with a rich, delicate flavour. Can be baked or poached.

Rainbow Trout: A Salmonid family member, soft, fine textured flesh with a rich, delicate flavour. Can be baked or poached. Rainbow trout are a Lake stocked fish in the Fernie area.

Whitefish: Asubfamily of the Salmonidae family. It has a flakey white flesh with a somewhat sweet flavour, often smoked.

Leek and Fennel Stuffed Salmon

Serves 4

  • 3-4 lbs Salmon or Trout
  • Butter
  • 3 cloves garlic (Sliced)
  • 2 cups yellow onion
  • 3 cups fennel
  • 2 cups leek
  • 1 lemon zest
  • ¼ white wine
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 3 TBSP dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Heat two tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onion, and leeks, cook, stirring until soft. Add fennel and ¼ teaspoon salt, cook stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Add cream, lemon zest and dill, reduce for three minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Place fish on a prepared baking sheet. Rub the cavity with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with fennel and leek mixture. Wrap in tin-foil and cook on BBQ at 400c for 5-8 min on both sides.

Pistachio Herb Gremolata

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 packed cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Toast pistachios in oven and rough chop. Dice garlic, fine chop parsley add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Charcoal Lemonade

Yield: Two Cocktails

  • 8 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 capsules activated charcoal
  • 6 oz water
  • 3oz Fernie Distillers Vodka
  • Ice cubes

Place all ingredients in cocktail shaker and shake until combined. Pour over ice and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Photo by Matt Kuhn Photography