Last summer I took a much overdue trip to visit Alaska. In addition to being responsible for the ill-founded celebrity of Sarah Palin, our neighbors to the north can boast an absolutely ruggedly beautiful landscape, friendly people like Lance-the-water-taxi-guy, and more mosquitoes than I thought humanly possible.
Our Alaska trip ended up being mostly centered around fish: whale watching while Orcas dove under our boat (those are like really big fish, right?), fishing for salmon on a charter boat (I was the only person not catching a darn thing in 3 hours, until the last 10 minutes when I finally landed one), and early morning halibut fishing (where I caught one but didn’t know it was on the line ’til I finished reeling up my hook to add more bait!). We even went on a spear-fishing expedition (read: knife lashed to stick being jabbed into pods of salmon in shallow river) while camping out at a back country yurt - one of my favorite experiences of all time. We didn’t actually land anything with our spears, but I think our idea for a net system totally would have worked if it hadn’t’ve gotten dark...
As a reminder of our fishing prowess, we returned to Seattle (ha! I almost wrote ‘to the States’ - Alaska somehow does feel far away) with two boxes full of frozen fish (which we unloaded into our freezers at 2am, on its 51st hour of a 48 hour ice pack…). Which brings me to peach salsa. Many a fish taco party ensued. Grilled halibut (sometimes on handmade tortillas) always draws a crowd, and fish tacos are just not complete without some sort of fruity salsa on top.
Here’s one that will last on the shelf for a year or so and is especially good if you’re throwing a “It’s-summer-somewhere-party” in the dead of winter (which I highly recommend).
Canned Peach Salsa:
2 large peaches, peeled and chopped (I absolutely hate blanching peaches - for no good reason at all - so luckily these were ripe enough to peel fresh)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeño, finely minced (I left the seeds in which brought some HEAT. Adjust yours accordingly)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium sized red onion, diced
Put these all in a pot on low heat and add:
1/4 t cumin
1/2 juiced lime (optional - this acid it not strong enough for canning so you have to add vinegar, but I like the flavor the lime adds)
1/2c white vinegar
1” grated fresh ginger
Cook down until some of the liquid evaporates and it is no longer watery. (~15 minutes). Ladle into jars and process 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
Another good thing to add would be fresh cilantro (or ground coriander - they come from the same plant) but I know a few people who would rather eat dirt than eat cilantro (it’s apparently a brain wiring thing) so I left it out (plus - I conveniently didn’t have any).
If you are not into canning, here’s a quick blender recipe for a fresh pineapple salsa instead, shared with us by a couple who rented us a cabin outside of Seward, AK.
Alaskan Pineapple Salsa:
Can of pineapple-drained
2 jalapeños (no seeds)
5 garlic cloves
Fresh lime juice
Fresh ginger puréed
Put everything in a food processor, blend it up, and enjoy alongside fresh caught fish cooked over an Alaskan bonfire with the nicest darn AirBnB hosts you’ve ever met!