Getting to Know Westport, Washington

I finally posted the salmon recipe I created a few years back in Westport, Washington, and realized I should share some pictures to help you get to know this quaint little oceanfront town.

One way to enjoy Westport is the way we did a few years ago, as a stop on a ten-day journey up the Pacific Coast, starting in San Francisco and ending in Seattle.

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Driving-wise, Westport is about 2 hours north of the Washington / Oregon border, and about 3 hours southwest of Seattle
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Map from http://www.NWCoast.com (real estate)

Big-time Salmon Fishing

Westport was a 2-night stay on our Pacific Coast Highway trip, primarily to take advantage of the deep sea salmon fishing. Fish were caught! Five of them, weighting 50 lbs. total.

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The Grill-Meister’s fish was the second-largest one caught that day (for real!)

It’s not just about the fishing in Westport, though.  There’s a lot more to do.

Stroll the Marina

The marina area is a great place to stroll and soak in the local culture, feasting your eyes on boats and birds.

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Bennett’s Fish Shack

And then there’s Bennett’s Fish Shack, an eatery that perfectly fits its surroundings. Even the building has a cheery, casual, “aren’t-we-lucky-we’re-not-in-the-Big-City-Rat-Race” feel, so you can imagine how the servers are. Delightful.

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And seafood, do they ever have seafood! Fried seafood, boiled seafood, broiled seafood, grilled seafood, sautéed seafood, on-the-half-shell seafood, seafood in a salad, seafood on a sandwich…you name it, and if it is Pacific seafood, I bet they have it. My choice was the mussels and clams you see below, and they were stellar. Plump, cooked perfectly, and in a succulent sauce that the perfect balance of lemon, butter and white win. There was plenty of bread for sopping and a decent wine, perfect for the lovely summer evening when we visited.

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Lunch and Wine Tasting at the Westport Winery

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While our menfolk were fishing during our only full day in Westport, my mom-in-law and I had a leisurely day that enabled me to take all these photos, and included a 2-hour stop at the Westport Winery. There’s a lot to do there!

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The grounds are covered with charming, quirky and thought-provoking art.

The restaurant, aptly named the Sea Glass Grill, is sophisticated without being stuffy, and choices range from upscale salads to the Bubba Burger. All of the menu choices have recommended wine pairings – yum! I had the Crab Louie, and my mom-in-law selected the crab cakes. Alas, I took no photos! But below you’ll see the crab cakes from the Westport Winery web site. And yes, they tasted as good as they looked, and double-yes, the food was artfully plated, just like in the photo.

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And of course we did the requisite wine tasting! Wine is what the Westport Winery is all about, even though they are now officially the Westport Winery Garden Resort, providing facilities, to eat, drink, shop and sleep.  Did I say shop? I daresay we spent half an hour in the winery’s gift shop – really – because it had such a great selection of cool gifts and collectibles. And wine. And just now, looking on their web site, I saw this great description:

“The gift shop was selected as one of the top ten among Washington wineries in 2015. It is known for its incredible selection of gourmet food, apparel, books, and home decor. You can gather unusual and beautiful plants for your home garden from the winery’s nursery after finding inspiration in the acres of display gardens.”

That pretty much sums up our experience. Westport, you’ve got a winning winery. We’ll be back!

Nice Vacation Rentals

We stayed in a lovely waterfront condo and enjoyed watching the birds and ships. The Coast Guard staged a marine rescue training activity one evening during our stay – great free entertainment, and very comforting, besides.

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TripAdvisor has tons of listings for vacation rentals in Westport.

More to See

We didn’t have time to tour the town’s museums, but really enjoyed driving around. The town is really colorful, and welcoming, and speaks of the sea everywhere.

 

Finally, the Sunset

These photos don’t need words.

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References

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

Westport Salmon, a Recipe Born of Necessity

Several years ago, we met my in-laws in Westport, WA so that my father-in-law could take my husband (“the Grill-Meister” in this blog) and our two boys deep-sea fishing. They caught 50 pounds of salmon – five big fish! It was an wonderful experience to cook and eat salmon that was caught that day, and to hear the (true) “I caught a fish that was THIS big” stories over dinner in our rented bay-front condo.

 

My mother-in-law and I took a scenic drive and had a leisurely lunch at a local winery while the menfolk were doing the fishing, then headed out to the tiny grocery store to buy provisions to cook the salmon we just knew they would catch.  This recipe below was born out of necessity from the few ingredients we could find there.  It’s pretty good! The crunch of the topping with its sharp horseradish bite is a great balance to the smoothness of the salmon on its bed of softened vegetables.

Westport Salmon

Ingredients 

  • 4 – 6 salmon steaks, 1 – 1 1/2 in. thick
  • 1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 large), thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced, including leaves (or a similar amount of bell pepper – whatever you’ve got!)
  • 2 tsp. seafood seasoning, divided, plus more for sprinkling on the steaks (Old Bay is great, so is Paul Prudhomme’s)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling in the pan
  • 1 tbsp. prepared cream horseradish
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. green onions tops, finely chopped

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the onion, celery, seafood seasoning and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil until combined in a bowl. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in baking pan that will hold the salmon steaks without them touching, then add the onion and celery mixture to the pan, spreading evenly. In a small bowl, combine the horseradish, Panko, green onion and remaining olive oil and seafood seasoning. Place the salmon in the pan on the onion / celery mixture and then add the Panko topping to each steak, patting it on firmly. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until just done. Turn on the broiler for the last minute or two if your breadcrumb topping isn’t browned.

Note: if you want to serve a quick sauce on the side, combine a tablespoon or two of the horseradish with about a half cup of sour cream and a teaspoon of your seafood seasoning.  Yum!

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Ready to assemble – I didn’t have celery on hand (which was all I had in Westport), so I substituted green bell pepper; red would have been prettier
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Just before baking
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Ready to eat! 

And just for fun, below is a photo of the Westport Salmon that I took the first time I made it here at Glover Gardens, after developing the recipe on our trip.  Although my food photos above are imperfect, look how far I’ve come! (And the white plates work a lot better, don’t they??)

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This tasted really good, but looks like a hot mess!

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to try the recipe. In the next post, we’ll take look at the lovely little waterfront town.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook