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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Catch Copper River Salmon At 3660

Copper River Red Salmon appear once a year in Hawaii, as a handful of restaurants bring in the Alaskan delicacy for a period that lasts no more than a couple of weeks. 3660 on the Rise has been serving the fish for 16 years and is proud to have it once again on the menu.

“Every year there seems to be a different challenge,” says 3660 chef de cuisine Lydell Leong. “This year, the prices were so high we waited an extra couple of weeks until there was more supply. The Alaskan fisheries carefully regulate the fishing period, and there’s a quota that can’t be exceeded. When the numbers are low, the prices go up.”

Patience paid off, and the restaurant now has enough salmon to last through the next couple of weeks.

The wild salmon, caught as they’re swimming upstream, are high in fat content with an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, and regular customers look forward to their arrival.

“We have people who call and ask when it’s coming in,” explains Lydell. “This year they’ve been calling a lot, because it’s a little later than usual!”

It’s not just the customers who look forward to the salmon’s arrival. It’s a popular event with the chefs, too.

“There’s so much that affects the salmon and sometimes prevents it from getting here,” says Lydell, “so it’s great when it finally arrives and we can get in the kitchen and prepare dishes for our customers. We’re itching to cook it because we only get to cook it once a year.”

The brightly colored fish is a favorite with chefs because of its versatility.

“It really makes the plate pop with the color,” says Lydell, “and it’s a clean-tasting fish with great texture.”

This month’s guests at 3660 will find the red salmon seared and served with a Kahuku corn, vine-ripened tomato and shiitake mushroom relish and drizzled with a roasted lemon garlic butter sauce. A garnish of microgreens finishes the exquisitely colored plate. The fish is best served medium-rare so the fatty, highly prized texture is accented.

“The high fat and oil content make it a very forgiving fish to cook,” says Lydell, “and most people appreciate how different it is in texture from regular salmon. ”

Not a fan of salmon? There are still dozens of dishes on the 3660 menu that make a visit to this popular neighborhood restaurant worthwhile.

“We have dishes that can never be taken off the menu,” says Lydell with a smile. “Our customers would never allow it!”

Highlights of the award-winning menu include ahi katsu, potato-crusted crab cakes, a melt-in-the-mouth soy-sake filet of butterfish and an award-winning New York strip that is simply seared and perfectly seasoned with Hawaiian salt.

The Copper River Red Salmon may only be on the menu for a couple more weeks, but thankfully the New York Steak Alaea will stay forever. Happy eating! 3660 Waialae Ave. 737-1177 www.3660.com

tabletalk@hawaii.rr.com

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