Ever consider eating the lowly chum salmon? The poor cousin of tasty relatives like chinook, coho and sockeye, chum has gotten a bad rap over the years. But when "keta salmon," as it is now marketed, is caught fresh from the ocean and processed quickly, the mild taste and flaky texture make it a great eating fish. And at $7.50/lb for a thick fresh fillet, it compares favorably to fresh Chinook's $29.99/lb price tag and even previously frozen sockeye, which runs around $12.99/lb.
In early November, I caught a ride aboard the Njord, a commercial fishing boat, for an evening of harvesting chum salmon in Seattle's front yard, Elliot Bay. The Seattle skyline was ablaze to accommodate downtown diners and professionals working late. Just beyond them, in the shadows of the skyscrapers, out on the blackness of the sea, we were catching chum.