Partially Smoked Salmon
Ugnerkami iqallut taikata sikialitaartukut. - In the spring when the salmon come, we make the partially smoked salmon.
Sikiaq, a lightly smoked salmon, is a common offering at Alutiiq breakfast tables. Stay at an Alutiiq lodge or bed and breakfast and you may awake to the aroma of this baking fish. Unlike typical smoked salmon, which is brined and then smooked for about ten days, sikiaq smokes for just two to three days after salting. This shorter cooking process imparts a gentle smoky flavor and unique texture. The outer layer of the salmon filet becomes firm, while the meat inside stays soft. People usually use filets of silver or red salmon for this dish.
For a delicious meal, people bake sikiaq like fresh salmon, heating it in the oven with a slathering of sliced onions, butter, pepper, and fresh herbs. It makes a delicious hot breakfast, although people enjoy it at all times of the day.
Photo: Elder Julie Knagin filets a red salmon.