1 whole Alaska Keta salmon (dressed), fresh or thawed
salt and pepper to taste
For the stuffing:
6 oz. herb-flavored stuffing mix
½ cup hot water
¼ cup crisp, crumbled bacon or pancetta
3 Tbsps. reserved bacon drippings or olive oil, divided
1 medium leek, white and light part only (about 1 cup), halved lengthwise, then sliced
Half of a small peeled celery root (or celery) (about 1-1/2 cups), cut in 1/2-inch dices
2 Tbsps. each chopped parsley and lemon zest
12 to 16 oz. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces
1. Remove Alaska Keta Salmon from refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking. Heat oven to 400°F. Cut 2 pieces of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around salmon lengthwise. Stack the foil sheets (shiny side down) on a baking sheet.
2. Stir stuffing mix, water and bacon in a medium bowl; set aside. Add 2 tablespoons bacon drippings (or olive oil) to a large frying pan. Stir in leeks and celery root; sauté 3 to 5 minutes, until leeks are softened. Transfer cooked vegetables, parsley, zest and asparagus to stuffing mix; stir to combine.
3. Rinse salmon under cold water, thoroughly rinsing belly cavity; pat dry with paper towel. Place salmon on foil sheets. Brush or rub remaining drippings/oil on both sides of the salmon; season with salt and pepper. Cut 3 to 4 slits, crosswise, into the skin of the salmon, deep enough to almost reach the bone. Loosely stuff salmon cavity with half to 3/4 of stuffing mixture, allowing remaining stuffing to set on the foil around the belly of the fish. Squeeze lemon juice onto fish. Bring foil ends up and crimp to close (leave room for heat circulation inside), forming a sealed packet.
4. Transfer the foil packet and baking sheet to the preheated oven and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, cooking just until salmon is opaque throughout. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving. Serve salmon with stuffing.
Photo and recipe: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute