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Tastiest Catch: Alaskan Fisherwoman’s New Salmon Cookbook Will Get You Hooked


December 01, 2011
Thursday PM

jpg Tastiest Catch – Alaskan Fisherwoman’s New Salmon Cookbook Will Get You Hooked

Salmon, Desserts & Friends: A fantastic collection of scrumptious recipes, fishing stories and captivating images depicting the magic of Alaska's commercial fishing lifestyle.

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - For LaDonna Gundersen, author of Salmon Desserts & Friends (paperback, 135 pages, $18.95), catching, cooking and eating salmon is her passion. A California girl, she got hooked on Alaska, fishing and husband Ole (not necessarily in that order!) more than twenty years ago and has never looked back. As chief deck hand and galley cook on the LaDonna Rose, their 32-foot commercial fishing vessel based in Ketchikan, Alaska, she’s responsible for all their meals. These are often prepared on the fly, on a rocking and rolling boat, in a tiny 4x7 foot galley (kitchen). Yet she refuses to stock the galley with ‘heat and eat’ pre-prepared foods and instead has become adept at serving up scrumptious, inventive, quick and easy-to-prepare salmon dishes. During the summer season, Ole and LaDonna eat salmon five times a week, sometimes twice a day. These meals form the basis for the newly released Salmon, Desserts & Friends. The pages of the cookbook are filled with creative yet simple recipes fit for land and sea. The book is accompanied by gorgeous photos taken by Ole of the dishes, Alaskan scenery and the commercial fishing lifestyle.

There are no supermarkets at sea, nor gourmet grocery stores in Ketchikan. So LaDonna’s recipes focus on simple and easy-to-find ingredients. However that doesn’t mean giving up on taste or that the recipes are all mayonnaise or cream cheese. Hazelnut-Encrusted Wild Salmon Fillets, Seared Salmon with Wild Blueberry Salsa, Cranberry-Almond Salmon Sandwich or Sesame Roasted Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Rhubarb Sauce will delight the foodies in any crowd.

During the fishing season mealtimes can be unpredictable as there’s no stopping when the fish are biting. So Gundersen offers up a section on ‘Mug Ups’ – a little bite to hold you over until the next big meal. These are simple yet impressive enough to be served as an hors d’oeuvre at a dinner party. Mug Up recipes include: Salmon Party Roll, Mini Salmon and Herb Quiches, Soft Spring Rolls with Smoked Salmon and Fresh Basil and Salmon Salad Wonton Cups. And of course no meal would be complete without dessert so LaDonna has included some of her favorite recipes including Banana Cream Pie with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust (this makes Ole swoon), Sweet Potato Pecan Pie and Chocolate Mocha Baked Alaska.

When in Ketchikan, the Gundersens are often stopped by bewildered tourists asking how to cook their just-purchased canned or smoked salmon. So Salmon, Desserts & Friends includes more than 24 recipes using canned salmon. There’s also an informative guide (complete with photos of fish caught by the Gundersens) to understanding, selecting and enjoying wild Pacific salmon, including a section on catching methods and sustainability.

In addition to being a commercial fisherwoman and cookbook author, LaDonna has also been a professional baker. As owner and operator of the Viking Ave Deli and Bakery in Poulsbo, Washington, she taught herself how to make a dessert look so luscious you gained two pounds just looking at it. She also opened wholesale bread, pie and pastry accounts that included Barnes and Noble and several local restaurants.

After several short years she gave up her bakery for the love and adventure of the Alaskan lifestyle and has never looked back. Most recently she was guest on Ketchikan’s KPU Celebrity Chef and a celebrity judge at Ketchikan’s Top Chef 2011.

The Gundersens have just finished the summer fishing season and are in the lower 48 for the winter–residing in Florence, Oregon. Sample recipes can be found at

LaDonna's cookbook is available for purchase in Ketchikan or you can order it through her website.



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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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