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The Nez Perce tribe was known as "The Salmon People." Try this delicious, traditional roasted cedar maple salmon entrée! (Above left) Elderberry is a main staple of the Plateau Indians. This yummy elderberry ginger cocktail also has tons of health benefits. See special note in recipe below.(Top right) Dishes with rice, mushrooms, garlic, onion and nuts were common Nez Perce foods. The type of rice the Nez Perce ate is not commonly available, so this savory dish uses wild rice, native to Upper Midwest tribes (bottom right).

Many Native American dishes are central to our national palate: most notably the "three sisters," squash, corn and beans, as well as potatoes, garlic and onions. The Nez Perce ate a special tuber called "camas," which is not widely available. So, we use sweet potatoes in this recipe, which is similar in taste. (Top left) Frybread, very easy to make, is universal among most North America tribes, including the Nez Perce. (Above) This Nez Perce recipe is from the Lewiston Tribune in Idaho. Slather with your favorite topping! Plateau tribes ate wild clover, some ferns and other greens for sustenance. We substitute spinach for this salad recipe with nuts and berries and an elderberry dressing. Healthy and delicious too!

Roasted Cedar Salmon with Maple & Pecan Glaze


  • salmon fillets with skin on one side – 3/4-1 pound (1-1.5 inch thick)

  • chopped parsley for garnish

  • sea salt for finishing



  • 3 tablespoon butter

  • 3 tablespoon pure Maple Syrup (or brown sugar)

  • 1/4 C. pecans, chopped

  • 2 tablespoon grainy or old-fashioned mustard

  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 large clove)

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (this will help glaze adhere to salmon)

Soak a cedar plank in cold water, 10 minutes for a 1/4-inch plank,
30-60 minutes for 1/2-inch plank. Cedar planks are great for salmon as they provide a gentle smoky taste.


  1. Prepare the glaze: Place all glaze ingredients in a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. Stir. Microwave for 1 minute on high. Glaze will be slightly thickened. Or place ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer on medium heat for a few minutes until thickened. Let stand 5 minutes.

  2. Heat the oven to 450F.

  3. Grill planked salmon: After soaking, pat plank dry. Spray with oil. Place salmon on top of plank, skin side down. Brush salmon with 1/3 of glaze. Place plank on middle grate and grill for 3 minutes for thinner plank (a little longer if using a thicker plank) until plank starts charring and smoking. Have a glass of water on hand in case of flare ups.

  4. Brush 1/3 more glaze on top of salmon fillets. Turn heat down to 425F.

  5. Cook for another 7 minutes or until salmon just begins to turn opaque. Instant thermometer will show an internal core temperature of 130-135F/54.4-57C (temp will rise while resting). Salmon should be a warm pink in the thickest part. Drizzle with remaining glaze. Rest salmon for 5 minutes loosely covered with a foil.


Slide a spatula between the skin and the salmon. The salmon will lift right off leaving the skin on the charred wood plank.
Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired and some good sea salt and/or lemon zest.

Elderberry & Ginger Cocktail (or Mocktail)


  • 2 oz. elderberry syrup (or crushed & pressed elderberries)
    (NOTE: elderberries and elderberry syrup are readily available on Amazon and at health food stores)

  • 1 oz. bourbon, your choice (for mocktail use sparkling water or ginger-ale)

  • 1 dropper of ginger extract

  • a few slices of fresh ginger

  • cinnamon stick & twist of orange peel for garnish



  1. Add elderberry syrup, bourbon, and ginger slices to a shaker. Shake for 15 seconds

  2. Add crushed ice and shake another 5 seconds

  3. Pour into a glass and add a dropper of ginger extract.

  4. Garnish with cinnamon stick and orange peel

Wild Rice, Mushrooms, Chestnuts & Cranberry Pilaf


  • 2 T. walnut oil

  • 1 lb. assorted fresh mushrooms, cleaned

  • 1 T. chopped fresh sage

  • 1/2 c. chopped wild onion or shallots

  • 1 T. minced garlic cloves

  • 1/2 c. mushroom stock

  • 2 c. wild rice, cooked according to directions

  • 1 /2 c. dried cranberries

  • 1 c. roasted, peeled, chopped chestnuts

  • 1 T. maple syrup or to taste

  • 1 /2 t. smoked salt or to taste

  • 2 T. butter

  • sprigs of fresh sage for garnish

Score an X on the flat side of each chestnut with a sharp knife and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350°F oven until the
skins begin to peel back, between 10-25 minutes, depending on size and freshness of the chestnuts. Let cool, peel & quarter.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, sage, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until
the mushrooms are nicely browned and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushroom stock, wild rice, and
cranberries and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Stir in the roasted chestnuts. Season with maple syrup and smoked
salt to taste. Garnish with fresh sage sprigs and serve.

Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Pecans & Maple Creme Fraiche


  • 4 sweet potatoes (each 7 ounces), Garnet or Jewel

  • 4 T. unsalted butter, as room temperature

  • Fine sea salt

  • olive oil to coal potatoes



  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

  • 1 T. maple syrup or honey

  • 1 T. fresh lime juice

  • 2 t. fish sauce (optional)

  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper

  • Fine sea salt to taste



  • 2 T thinly sliced scallions, both green & white parts

  • 1/4 c. pecan pieces, roasted in butter

  • 1 t. red chili flakes or paprika

  • 2 t. chives, chopped

  • 1 t. paprika

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash, scrub, and dry the potatoes, then brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Poke 6-7
holes in each potato with a sharp knife, then place them on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Bake in hot oven for
45-60 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing together.

When the potatoes are soft, remove from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Cut an incision across the top of each
potato, but don't cut them all the way in half. Place a tablespoon of butter in the pocket. Then, fill with a few spoonfuls of
creme fraiche, sprinkle with paprika or chili powder, roasted pecan pieces, scallions, and chives. Serve immediately.

Nez Perce Fry Bread


  • 1/2 c. warm (not hot} tap water

  • 1/2 C. warm milk (whole or 2%)

  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon active yeast

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix 1/2 cup of the water and yeast in a large measuring cup, and let it sit until the yeast activates or bubbles. Mix the dry ingredients in a larqe bowl with a fork and make a well in the center. Add the oil and 1/2 cup warm milk to the yeast mixture. Fold the liquid into the dry mixture and mix until sticky. Place in oven on "proof' setting (100F) for an hour or more. After dough has risen, knead it slightly. Place in the refrigerator for another hour or so.


Heat about one inch of oil in a skillet or a deep fat fryer on high or 350 degrees. While the oil heats, prepare the fry bread pieces. Oil hands and make individual pieces, stretching the dough to about the size of a bagel.

Poke a hole in the center, like a doughnut, so heat disperses evenly. Lower into oil until golden brown. Flip and repeat. This process usually takes about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place on paper towel to drain.


Continue until all pieces are fried. Serve with butter, honey (or huckleberry honey), jam. Makes 5 or 6 pieces.

Greens with Nuts & Berries & Elderberry Dressing


  • greens such as watercress, arugula, purslane, or spinach can be used for this recipe

  • Nuts roasted in butter, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pinon nuts, or pecans

  • Berries such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and dried cranberries

  • minced onion, to taste

  • minced garlic dove, to taste



  • walnut oil

  • elderberry syrup


Wash all greens and berries thoroughly. Roast nuts in butter. Add greens, berries and nuts together, then toss in walnut oil and elderberry syrup.

Download / Print the Menu PDF

For easy printing, please download the PDF here.

SPECIAL NOTE: It is important to note that these recipes are "inspired" by Nez Perce cooking but not necessarily culturally accurate, as many traditional Nez Perce ingredients are native to their particular geography and are not commonly available in grocery stores. Some traditional ingredients have been substituted with those more readily available. These offerings are intended only to give readers a taste of traditional Nez Perce native foods in a modern context.

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