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Guest Recipe: Salmon Bacon With Rhubarb Lacquer

Award-winning chef and lodge owner Kirsten Dixon shares her recipe for her healthy salmon bacon snack with the flavors of an Alaskan summer.

by | May 25, 2022

Recipe from the Tutka Bay Lodge cookbook by Kirsten and Mandy Dixon

This recipe for salmon bacon reminds me of when I was first dating my husband Carl back in the early 1980s. He took me for a drive along the Kenai from Anchorage, stopping at all his favorite spots along the way.

We drove by a homestead gift shop where the elderly owner displayed a dusty cabinet filled with handcrafted items for sale. Carl bought me a pair of “eyeball earrings,” two gleaming white salmon lenses that had been preserved somehow. They looked like glistening pearls. I just loved my eyeball earrings.

We find plenty of salmon symbolisms among us in Alaska. We have salmon windchimes, t-shirts, doormats, and keychains. We make salmon posters, and people write books about the life cycles of salmon. Many of us work on the ocean to bring Alaska salmon to the world market. We honor salmon in our art and in our cuisine, through our stories and our lifestyles.

Carl and I ultimately got married. We left our jobs in Anchorage and moved to a remote river. I learned how to catch, clean, and cook salmon. I fried salmon, I smoked and baked it over dried alderwood on an outdoor grill Carl had fashioned from old fuel barrels. I made chowders and pies, salmon dumplings and salmon salads.

Now, forty years later, our two daughters are long grown. We’ve moved from that place on the river to the ocean, in Tutka Bay, a nine-mile fjord jutting off from the larger Kachemak Bay. Here we get to watch the ocean breath in and out twice a day. We see shorebirds and whales follow the fish and sea otters feeding babies. The rich and vibrant life in the bay is an endless entertainment. And I’m still cooking salmon.

I think perhaps my greatest wish is that generations from now, someone will be right here where I am, cooking salmon for their family.

Here’s a beloved Dixon family recipe for salmon bacon that you can try with fresh summer rhubarb. 

Salmon Bacon With Rhubarb Lacquer

Recipe by Kirsten DixonCourse: SnacksCuisine: Seafood, Salmon, AlaskaDifficulty: Easy
Slices

10

slices
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes
Total time

50

minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. Alaska cold-smoked salmon lox (about 10 slices)

  • 1/2 lb. rhubarb, washed, trimmed, and chopped

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup apple cider

  • 1/2 shallot

  • 1 tsp freshly ground course black pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
    Coat the foil with spray release or with oil. Lay down each of the pieces
    of salmon onto the baking sheet. Set aside.
  • Place the rhubarb, honey, apple cider, shallot, and about a teaspoon
    of black pepper into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over
    medium-low heat until the rhubarb is cooked and begins to fall apart.
    Add a little additional apple cider if more liquid is necessary. Cook for
    about 30 minutes until the mixture has reduced down to a thick syrupy
    consistency.
  • Brush the salmon with the rhubarb lacquer. Place the baking sheet onto
    the center rack of the oven and bake for about 5 to 6 minutes or until
    the bacon is just crisp.

Kirsten Dixon is owner of the Tutka Bay Lodge and co-author of the Tutka Bay Lagoon Cookbook. She is a winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award and a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards. Her recipes have been featured in Fine Cooking magazine. She is also a CIAA board member.

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