Beer, Cooking, Cornman Farms, Food, Recipes, Travel

Tabitha’s Alaskan-Inspired Coconut Salmon

by Tabitha Mason, co-managing partner of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

I was born in Alaska, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  I dream of retiring to Alaska, but not Anchorage, where I was born–Girdwood, Alaska is the town that speaks to me the most.  Girdwood is a small mountain town less than 40 miles south of Anchorage.  The year-round population in Girdwood in around 2,000, but it’s also a lively tourist destination, which speaks to my Frankenmuth, MI upbringing.  I love the people of Alaska–salt of the earth, hardworking people, escaping all kinds of things, drawn to Alaska for it’s quirkiness, it’s breathtaking outdoors, the general air of acceptance.  Girdwood’s tourist population allows some really good restaurants to thrive here year ’round, and my recipe comes from one of them.

   Tabitha as a baby in Alaska






This recipe comes from the Double Musky Inn, where John and I had a remarkable meal on a vacation between our sons Sam and Tommy being born.  The Double Musky Inn was called the “last great American roadhouse” by Esquire magazine, covered multiple times by Bon Appetite and the Food Network.  I was blown away by my entire meal and asked for the recipe for this simple but delicious salmon appetizer, which the restaurant provided.

Coconut Salmon

1 pound salmon, trimmings or fillet
2 cups shredded coconut (the Double Musky uses a sweetened coconut and taps off the excess sugar by putting it in a strainer)
2 cups beer batter* (mine is below)
Oil & fryer or deep pot to fry in

Cut the salmon into 2-inch squares roughly half an inch thick (the restaurant told me they use trimmings from their fillets, so you can go that route if you’re making another salmon dish at home).  It’s Alaska, we’re unconventional–things don’t have to be perfectly uniform.  Blot with paper towel to dry.
Heat oil to 375 degrees.  While oil is heating, prepare your batter.
Dip salmon pieces in beer batter, then quickly but thoroughly roll in coconut.
Fry salmon in oil until strips turn dark brown but are not burned.  Drain on paper towels.
Eat immediately!

Beer Batter Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 to 1 1/2 12 ounce bottle(s) of beer, cold (I use Alaskan Brewing Co. Amber Alt style–it’s on our beer list at the farm!  You’ll need roughly one and a half bottles, so enjoy the rest!)
2 tsp. course salt

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add cold beer and whisk together.
Done!  You should have a thick paste.  Use immediately.  No dredging in additional flour is needed.