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The Fish Market

Enjoy the Best of Aquaculture Harvest

February 06, 1986|ISAAC CRONIN and PAUL JOHNSON | Cronin and Johnson are co-authors of "The California Seafood Cookbook."

The enormous aquaculture industry founded on the west coast of Norway is responsible for a large portion of the fresh salmon available in fish markets at this time of the year. The consistently high quality aquaculture salmon of the Atlantic is rapidly replacing most of the frozen salmon used during the harsh winter months of the past.

The fish are grown in the ice-free fjords of the North Atlantic. There the Gulf Stream current keeps inshore waters above freezing.

Bred and Fed in Captivity

The artificially bred salmon are kept in hatcheries for 6 months. They are then transferred to large square net pens that are floating in the sea. There they are fattened to adulthood. After two years of a controlled diet of ground shrimp shell, herring and grains, the fish are ready for harvest. The entire fish pen can be towed to shore where the salmon can be scooped out of the sea to be processed. The end result is a high quality fish with little or no bruising and a consistent flavor.

As much energy goes into processing the fish as into growing fish. Government regulations demand a sterile atmosphere for cleaning fish. Packaging for rapid transportation is high-tech, and monitoring for time lag during shipment is diligent.

Norwegian aquaculture salmon are bred for all the characteristics the consumer finds desirable in salmon. The color is deep red and the texture is very firm. Because of its diet, it is flavorful, moist and fatty. GRILLED JUNIPER SALMON

2 tablespoons coarse salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns

1 tablespoon cracked juniper berries

1 ounce aromatic gin

2 (1-pound) salmon fillets

Combine salt, sugar, peppercorns, juniper berries and gin. Spread mixture on each fillet and allow to marinate for 1 hour. Grill over mesquite or hardwood fire until wood skewer easily pierces thickest part of fillet. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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