The 'Pike Place Fish' cookbook will fly off shelves

Many of us have fond memories of visiting Seattle's Pike Place Market, where you can't miss the Cirque de Soliel of Seafood -- the Pike Place Fish guys.

These finny and funny fishmongers acrobatically throw and catch local salmon, sing and otherwise perform for crowds of customers -- some 10 million a year. Many of them are tourists who extend the experience by flying home with salmon and other sweets of the sea, packed up for them by the Pike Place Fish guys.

Now you can enjoy them in your own kitchen, as "The crew of Pike Place Fish" have a cookbook that's out today: "In the Kitchen with the Pike Place Fish Guys."

The $30 hardcover, published by Viking Studio, actually was written by food writer Leslie Miller and Seattle restaurateur Bryan Jarr, but its "narrators" are several of the orange-overalls-wearing workers at the fish market, which sells 1.5 million pounds of fish every year.

The book gives a brief history of the fish market, which started in 1965 and went fully sustainable in 2011, and other background, such as a graphic depicting "How to Throw a Salmon" and other, more practical advice for working with salmon, oysters, Dungeness crab and more.

Then it's to the recipes, divided into chapters titled "Rise and Shine," "Let's Get This Party Started," "Salmon," "Soups, Salads, Sandwiches," "Tuesday-Night Tuna," "Smokin', Grillin', And Chillin' ," "Clambake," "Pasta + Fish = Love," "Paella," "In the Raw" and "The Basics."

Basic is how I prefer my seafood, especially when I'm able to get it in a place such as Seattle, so I was drawn to the simpler preparations.

My son and I had fun making the market's Northwest Seafood Seasoning and a rub so we could reprise the market's popular Salmon Patties, and while it wasn't just like being there, it was a delicious, easy taste of Seattle -- a good catch.


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"These are the very same patties that seem to fly out of the case at Pike Place Fish," note the Pike Place Fish guys via their writers. "They are great served on their own or with your favorite sauce, such as tartar or dill sauce. We think the best way to serve them is on a brioche bun, with a little arugula, tomato, and a slice of Walla Walla sweet onion on top. This might be the best salmon burger ever."

I must say, after we made the seasonings, it was a snap to make the burgers, and they really are fabulous. I'll be using the rest of the spice blends as I make these again and again.

-- Bob Batz Jr.

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless wild salmon, finely chopped

  • 4 teaspoons avocado or extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon Our Own Rub (see below)

  • 1 teaspoon Northwest Seafood Seasoning (see below)

  • 1 cup panko

Place the chopped salmon in a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of the avocado oil, the rub, and the seafood seasoning. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Add the panko and mix to combine.

Form the mixture evenly into 4 patties, packing them firmly around the edges so they don't fall apart (we use a burger press at the shop). Each patty should be between 1/2- and 3/4 inch thick.

Preheat a skillet (cast iron works well) over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of avocado oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the patties and cook for 3 minutes. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The patties may also be grilled over medium-high heat for the same amount of time. Serves 4.

-- "In the Kitchen with the Pike Place Fish Guys" by the crew of Pike Place Fish with Bryan Jarr and Leslie Miller (Viking, 2012, $30)

Northwest Seafood Seasoning

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"This is one of the most popular seasoning mixes we sell, and it's a winner sprinkled simply over fish or used as part of a more complex recipe," according to the Pike Place Fish guys. "This blend has just the right amount of garlic and onion, with paprika for depth and a bit of dill for flavor. But we think it's the celery seed that really makes this one sing. See what you think."

  • 1/3 cup dried minced garlic

  • 1/3 cup dried granulated onion

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

  • 4 teaspoons dried granulated lemon peel

  • 1/3 cup dried dill

  • 1/3 cup paprika

  • 2 tablespoons celery seed

  • 1/2 cup dried parsley

  • 1/4 cup medium-grind black pepper

Combine the garlic, onion, salt, lemon peel, dill, paprika, celery seed, parsley, and pepper in a bowl. Store in a covered container for up to 6 months.

Makes about 2 cups.

-- "In the Kitchen with the Pike Place Fish Guys" by the crew of Pike Place Fish with Bryan Jarr and Leslie Miller (Viking, 2012, $30)

Our Own Rub

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"This rub's a little bit sweet, like your favorite fishmongers," write the Pike Place Fish guys. "The chipotle and brown sugar work so well together, rounded out with onion. Dried cilantro doesn't have the pungency of fresh, but it is nice and herbal here. Rub it on everything, from salmon to black cod to halibut."

  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1/2 cup dried cilantro

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seed

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic pepper seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground celery seed

  • 1/4 cup dried granulated onion

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground chipotle chile

Combine the brown sugar, paprika, cilantro, fennel seed, garlic pepper, salt, celery seed, onion, and chipotle in a bowl. Store in a covered container for up to 6 months.

Makes about 11/2 cups.

-- "In the Kitchen with the Pike Place Fish Guys" by the crew of Pike Place Fish with Bryan Jarr and Leslie Miller (Viking, 2012, $30)

Bob Batz Jr.: and 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.


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