It began over 15 years ago with a simple idea – fishing by day, expert cooking instruction and fine dining in the evening. The concept fully came together 11 years ago when we teamed up with Ludger Szmania, formerly the owner and chef at Szmania’s in the Magnolia neighborhood in Seattle and now operating Warm Springs Inn in Wenatchee, WA.
Ludger brings great cooking expertise, a lively personality, delicious recipes that are simple enough to recreate at home, and German punctuality. The punctuality means when dinner is said to start at a fashionable early 5 PM and finish by 7 PM, that’s exactly what happens. And 5 PM is fashionable when you’ve been on the water from 5 AM until 3 PM.
On the hook side of the event, the fishing this 2019 was solid for all species. The king fishing was mostly close to home on the calmer waters of Sitka Sound. The location and timing of the bite was fickle at times, but by the end of the four days, the annual limit of three kings was achieved by just about everyone involved. The fish were mainly in the mid to upper teens with some in the 20’s. They were bright, beautiful and strong. Halibut fishing on the ocean was pretty much slam dunk and there were a far number of halibut caught while pursuing kings on calmer water. The weather ranged from good to excellent the first three days but blew up a bit on the last day. We were able to get to the grounds and catch the fish every day. All in all, it was excellent May fishing and a big step up from the struggles we ran into with kings last year. Rockfish and lingcod were very cooperative as usual.
On the cooking side – what can we say? Ludger never comes up short producing three courses a night, four nights in a row. Those that want to learn, can get detailed instruction. Those that just want to eat can sip wine, chat with the fellow fishers, and enjoy.
Recipes from this year included:
- Hot Smoked Salmon with Hearty Greens, Feta, & Beets
- Seared Ling Cod on Spinach with Smoked Bacon
- Halibut Shakshuka
- Ling Cod Creamy Chowder
- Grilled Halibut with Corn Salsa
- Poached Salmon in Wild Mushroom Sauce with Spaghetti
- Grilled Salmon Collars
- Seared Rockfish with Cauliflower & Mushroom Risotto
- Smoked Halibut with Citrus Vinaigrette, Root Vegetable Quinoa, and Arugula
- King Salmon and Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Egg
- Rockfish Ceviche
- Seared Halibut with Roasted Green Beans and Goat Cheese