Vodka Cured Salmon & Pickled Sea Asparagus

I've been loving learning new preparation methods from the best of the best, and this recipe is no exception.

I've teamed up with Executive Chef Mathew Koyanagi for a fresh, seasonal dish that is simple to prepare, can involve foraging, and is absolutely delicious.

I discovered sea asparagus and ever since I've been seeing it everywhere. Chef Koyanagi describes it as tasting the sea - it has a wonderful fresh, salty flavour and crunchy texture. It's nothing like I've ever tasted before.

The season is just ending, though you may be able to find some at the farmers markets, or save this recipe for next year. You want to make sure that the sea asparagus hasn't flowered yet; there's still some that is late growth where I go to forage mine, so look closely. 


Here is a close up of what it looks like (the green only):

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To make this dish even more local, I've used the Sheringham Distillery Vodka, made here on Vancouver Island in Shirley, BC with 100% BC agriculture ingredients. I do my best to purchase from small businesses who are committed to localism, quality and sustainability and they have the same values, so it's a good match.

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We were really fortunate this year to go on not one but three fishing charters so we could source our own fish, so this recipe is almost all sourced by my own hands.


This is a great recipe to make if:

  • you want to increase your omega 3 essential fatty acids to support your body under stress;
  • you want to try foraging as a way to get you in nature and getting exercise;
  • you want to experiment with different cooking techniques to spice up your meals.
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This recipe is the epitome of fresh & local. It features in season salmon and sea asparagus, as well as radishes, fresh herbs and locally made spirits. I prefer coho salmon for its medium fatty flesh. Whereas sockeye is super lean and spring salmon are incredibly fatty. You can use any salmon that you like though. This is a super simple dish that will impress everyone who sees and tastes it.
— Executive Chef Mathew Koyanagi


  • 500g Wild Coho Salmon, skin on
  • 75ml Sheringham Distillery vodka*
  • 100ml Granulated white sugar
  • 100ml Course Kosher salt
  • 2 Heavy bottomed non-reactive inter fitting dishes (such as glass pie plates)
  • 200g Sea asparagus, rinsed
  • 200ml Water
  • 200ml Raw apple cider vinegar
  • 50ml Sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5 Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Fennel fronds
  • Extra virgin olive oil

*For a little kick, try using Sons of Vancouver’s Chili Vodka


  • Combine first measure of sugar with salt. In 1 dish, evenly distribute half of the sugar salt mixture over bottom.
  • Place salmon skin side down onto sugar salt covered dish. Pour vodka over fish, ensuring all surface area gets wet. Sprinkle all remaining sugar salt mixture over fish.
  • Cover fish with second dish, put a weight on top (I usually use jarred or canned goods), and refrigerate for 48hrs.
  • In a pot, combine water, cider and second measure of sugar. Bring to a boil. In a non-reactive container, pour hot liquid over sea asparagus. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Pickle can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  • After 48hrs. remove salmon from the cure and rinse all salt off. Let dry uncovered in fridge for 1 hour.
  • As thin as you can, slice fish and arrange on a platter/plate. Spread pickled asparagus randomly over fish. Sprinkle dish with radish slices and fennel fronds. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.


Mathew Koyanagi is the Executive Chef at Savoury City, a boutique Farm-to-table catering company in Vancouver.

Unanimous winner of the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival’s prestigious Vintner’s Brunch, Chef Mathew Koyanagi is well known for his adventurous palate, bold flavours and attention to detail.

After graduating from the renowned Dubrulle International Culinary School, Mathew further honed his fine dining skills in his home city of Vancouver, BC. However, it was during a stint at one of Canada’s exclusive fishing resorts where his creativity and the challenge of cooking in unique settings lead him to catering and he realized his true calling – boutique, custom catering.

Having cooked in such exotic locations as the Great Wall of China and the Emperor’s Summer Palace, Mathew’s clientele has included former U.S. Presidents, royalty, dignitaries and a variety of international celebrities. Mathew fully embraces the sustainable agriculture movement and is committed to creating distinctive culinary experiences by showcasing the best and freshest ingredients our region has to offer.