The Salmon Sisters—Claire Neaton and Emma Laukitis—grew up fishing the waters of Alaska on their family’s commercial fishing boats. From the Aleutian Islands to the Copper River Delta and Prince William Sound, they spend their summers discovering the magic of the Alaskan wilderness and respectfully harvesting wild seafood from its pristine waters. Over their years spent fishing, foraging wild plants, and growing vegetables in their garden, they’ve figured out how best to nourish their bodies with whole foods and, specifically, nutrient rich Alaska wild salmon. To learn more about how to eat cleaner and live better, we tapped the Salmon Sisters for insight on their favorite recipes and the gear they depend on—like XTRATUF boots—to harvest fresh ingredients.
Start with Wild Salmon
Salmon is more than a fish, it’s a way of life for their community in Alaska. It’s not a special-occasion food, but a staple of their diet, packed with protein and rich with Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D Salmon promotes healthy hearts, bones, and vision, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and promotes brain function. Neaton believes that eating as much wild, fresh food as possible is key to healthy living. When cooking she suggests using unprocessed ingredients, whole foods, and taking the time to figure out where and who your food is coming from. “Learn how to break it down and use the entire species and not waste anything,” she says.
Sourcing high quality ingredients is only half the work; you’ll need to figure out how to combine them into a tasty meal. “I think a lot of people run into a roadblock of how to eat fish at home because we’re used to going out to a restaurant and having a beautiful piece of salmon for a special occasion,” says Laukitis. Part of the Salmon Sister’s goal with their business is to close that loop completely: by selling wild Alaskan fish and helping people feel confident integrating it into their daily life.
Try this Miso Salmon Soba Bowl
This is a cold noodle bowl meets salad, perfect for a warm day. “It’s a fresh meal that you can prepare with salmon anytime of the year. We designed it around our Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon portions,” says Laukitis. As part of their mission to make wild Alaska fish easily accessible to others, they now ship their fish to people’s doorsteps—like their wild Alaska coho and sockeye. The sisters grew up building meals around whatever fresh ingredients they had on hand, whether that was salmon or another kind of seafood or vegetables from the garden. The same spirit is present in this dish now: anything you have around that’s fresh is fair game. In the recipe there’s bok choy, cucumbers, avocado, and cilantro, but in your home kitchen you’re free to include any fresh herbs or other vegetables you have handy.
Or this Salmon Red Curry with Chili Crisp
This red curry is the sister’s take on comfort food: it’s a warming, hearty meal great for chilly days and made with flavors like ginger, scallions, and curry paste. While it’ll warm you up in the winter, it’s not super heavy. The Thai-inspired dish uses lime, tamarind, lemon grass, honey, fish sauce, and coconut milk. The sisters suggest using one of their salmon portions, but any fish will work well. “It’s a good way to get your comfort food, but also something that’s fresh and a little tangy,” says Laukitis. In general, if you just have a few vegetables to add to a meal of salmon you can rest easy knowing that that’s a complete, nutritious meal. “It’s going to fuel you and give you the strength you need.”
Salmon Sisters and XTRATUF
To do the work that they do on and off the boat, the Salmon Sisters ensure they are fueling properly at meals but also that they have the right gear. They are big fans of functional outdoor and work brands including XTRATUF boots—the only footwear they’d consider putting on before getting out on the water.
“XTRATUF has been the tried and true footwear staple in Alaska and the commercial fishing industry since we were born,” says Neaton. They have photos of their parents wearing them decades ago and say they’re known as the de facto ‘Alaska sneaker.’ The Salmon Sisters have been working with XTRATUF to create designs for printed boots over the past few years. The artwork is inspired by their work on the water, that season’s catch, and their adventures around Alaska. “The Legacy boots are the standard of excellence for safety and comfort, and workwear on the water. You would never go anywhere without a pair.” The Tinned Fish Legacy Boot print is an homage to the specialty canned fish producers they work with in Alaska. “It’s been fun to see a resurgence in other parts of the U.S. with tinned fish and people being really excited about finding easy ways to eat fish,” says Laukitis.
The Red Sockeye Ankle Deck Boot is designed after the prized species in Alaska, and pays homage to the salmon life cycle. When sockeye migrate back to fresh water at the end of their life they turn a vibrant red. This design is meant to honor an incredible creature and serve as a reminder of how important it is to protect and be stewards of the fish, says Neaton. It’s a print that people will wear with pride, the sisters say. The ankle deck boot is a lower profile waterproof shoe that’s perfect for everyday wear. “We wear them on the boat and around town. They’re the perfect boot for rainy weather to keep your feet dry without having to have big boots on,” says Laukitis.
At the end of the day, the most important tenet of a healthy, clean lifestyle is sharing with others. “Cooking and gathering with friends and family is so important and taking the time to do that can improve your quality of life,” says Neaton. Together, the Salmon Sisters are helping to ensure a more health conscious future, and hoping that their recipes and boots help others live to their fullest potential.
The XTRATUF x Salmon Sisters collection is a perfect pairing of two brands with deep connections to Alaska. This collaboration was created in partnership with original designs by two Alaskan fishermen (Emma and Claire), born and inspired by the wilderness of Alaska and the sustainable fisheries of the North Pacific. Salmon Sisters products are designed in Alaska, inspired by maritime tradition, and made for a community of fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts.