Grandma’s Special Salmon Sauce

[31 Jan 2014 | By | One Comment]
salmon sauce Grandmas Special Salmon Sauce

I would get up at 6am with my dad, pull on my boots and add one jacket on top of another. At only 8 years old, I’d fill that dented and well-loved Stanley thermos with hot chocolate – dad had his thermos of coffee – and traipse with him to the boat. I can still see the boat bobbing by the dock and smell the salty ocean water. A few seagulls say hello, but all else is quiet, serene – we witness the crack of dawn.

He loved to fish, and I loved being part of dad’s crew. I’d curl up on the bright blue, tattered vinyl boat seat then stare at the end of my fishing pole for hours. Was that a bite? We listened to music – or Bill Cosby or the Nylons – and if my Uncle or grandpa were fishing on a nearby boat – we’d call them on the CB (long before cell phones existed). Roger.

After hours filled with a few exciting minutes of reeling like a mad-person, nets flying and big proud grins – we’d pull in our poles and motor back to dock.

I would watch as my dad deftly fileted each fish – on the dock there would be a pseudo sink with a spray hose and slab of wood.

My family ate salmon frequently. Often we would fish near the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. Back in the day: we would catch our limits. We loved to eat salmon. And we always, always ate it with grandma’s special sauce. Now that I think about it: it was like smearing tomato aspic on the highest quality line-caught salmon you could find. Who does that?

salmon sauce @talkoftomatoes Grandmas Special Salmon Sauce

As a child, it was a given that we put ‘grandma’s special sauce’ on our salmon. Now I giggle at the notion that I accepted ‘special sauce’ without question. Even today, nostalgia easily trumps my professionally trained palate: I still make and love grandma’s special sauce.

Grandma’s Special Sauce (for Salmon)
1 can tomato soup
2 T. sweet pickle relish
a small onion, diced
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. vinegar
1/2 to 1 teas. prepared mustard
1 T. liquid smoke

Combine all, heat over stove.

Janelle + Grandma’s Special Sauce
1 8 oz jar of grown-on-my-urban-farm then canned tomatoes (OR your favorite high quality 15oz can crushed tomatoes)
3-4 T tomato paste
2-3 T homemade canned sweet pickled, finely chopped (or bread & butter pickles)
1/2 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 T dark brown sugar
Coarse and freshly ground: salt and white pepper
2 T white vinegar (OR white wine, white balsamic or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp mustard (I use stone ground)
1 T liquid smoke

2-3 tsp honey

Add ingredients into pot, and simmer until onion softens and sauce is heated through.
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One Comment »

  • Donna Vander Griend said (1 February 2014 at 9:00 am):

    Grandma Velt would love this…and she would be the first to try the “new” recipe! Nostalgia and memories are such good things. Your blog is proof that we not only have mind memories, but also taste bud savoring and sea-smelling, gull-hearing, wave-lapping memories…and all that fishing trip action. Love it that we can re-live it!!