Salmon season is right around the corner! Salmon is my favorite fish to grill. I love the way the smoke of a fire blends with the fish to create something that is even better than what you started with. What is your favorite grilling fish?
Today’s recipe is simple to prepare making it perfect for entertaining. A very quick prep, then cook the salmon on the grill for 10 minutes and you’re done! It doesn’t get any easier and your guests will love it.
Fish can be tricky when you are grilling it. If you cook it directly on the grates, it can break apart and fall into the fire. There are two ways to keep this from happening and make your clean up a lot easier.
Fold a long piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil to create a double layer, sturdy square or rectangle. The second solution, and the one that I prefer, is a grill “skillet” or basket. Mine has a collapsible handle that makes storage a snap. Though it doesn’t need it, I usually cover it with foil before adding the fish for easier clean up. There is no need to flip the fish or poke holes in the foil (contrary to popular belief).
With both of these options, try to buy your fish with the skin still on. There is a layer of healthy fat just under the skin that you lose if you remove it. This fat helps keep the fish moist during cooking, acts as insulation, and increases the health quotient. If you cover your grill it will concentrate the smoke and heat, creating an oven-like environment. This allows you to cook the fish skin-side-down without turning and gives you all the flavor of grilling straight on the grate.
If you are using a charcoal grill, create a 2-tier fire. That means to pile most of the hot coals on one side of the grill and just a few on the opposite side. Cook the fish over the cooler side and place the lid with the holes over the fish. This draws the heat and smoke across the fish, gently cooking and flavoring it. If you are using a gas grill, light one side of the grill, close the lid and preheat. Cook the fish over the cool burner(s).
If you are still using lighter fluid with your charcoal you need to buy a charcoal chimney. Lighter fluid leaves a greasy unpleasant taste on your foods and is a contaminant to the environment. The chimney is a simple design that works like a champ. Crumple up a little newspaper and stuff it in the bottom, place the chimney in your barbecue and fill the top with coals. Use a stick lighter to light the paper and within about 15 minutes your coals are starting to get ashy and are ready to pour out into the barbecue and cook over. Just make sure you use heavy leather gloves or oven mitts to protect your hands.
Grilling some vegetables to go alongside is a natural accompaniment to the salmon. Asparagus, squash, onions, tomatoes, just about anything works on the grill. If you have leftovers from an earlier meal, like I did when I made this, heat them up and add to the plate. This time I had roasted fresh beets with onions in the fridge, so I rewarmed them and served alongside the grilled salmon. They are beautiful and delicious.
Have you discovered Karie Engels yet? She is a lovely lady, the author of Your Home with Karie Engels: Live Your Life Out Loud, and believes in living life out loud, enjoying every aspect of life! It is one of my favorite sites, full of great food, wine, brews and cocktails. Karie’s friend, wine guru Jack Chase recommends a lovely Pinot Noir with this dish and likes Archery Summit Premier Cuvee from the Willamette Valley.
I hope you enjoy this simple, healthy meal and don’t forget … a glass of wine is good for your health and your soul, LOL! See you Monday for Chocolate Monday with the perfect dessert for your Easter dinner. Have a fabulous weekend!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Any solid white fish can be substituted for the salmon. Halibut, cod, bass, etc. will all work in this recipe. Most people overcook fish. You want to pull it off the heat when it is still a little underdone and allow the carry-over heat to finish cooking it. Your fish will be moist and tender every time!
Always buy wild seafood if possible, helping to support the fishing industry and protect the wild habitats. It is also healthier for us, a double win!
Use a gluten-free soy or tamari sauce to blend with the mayonnaise.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 small shallot, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tsp soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- 4 wild salmon fillets (about 1-1/2 lb total)
- 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, finely grated
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Preheat grill to medium or build a moderately hot fire with charcoal. Create a triple layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil large enough to hold all the salmon filets. Brush foil lightly with olive oil or spray with vegetable oil spray; set aside.
- Mash minced garlic and 3/4 tsp of the salt on a cutting board smearing together with the side of a chef’s knife or a spoon until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in shallots, mayonnaise, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth.
- Check the salmon for pin bones and remove if necessary. Place the salmon skin-side down on the prepared foil and spread the garlic/mayonnaise over the top. Sprinkle with the 1/3 cup chopped basil and green onions. Grate the lemon zest over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.
- Transfer the salmon, on the foil, to the grill. Grill until the fish flakes easily but is still fairly deep pink in the center, 7 to 10 minutes, cooking with the lid closed and vents open. Do not flip the salmon. Slide the salmon from the foil to a serving platter, tent loosely with clean foil if you are not serving immediately.
- You can grill some asparagus, sliced tomatoes, or other in-season vegetables to serve alongside if you choose.
- Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Slice the grated lemon over the top and add 1 or 2 lemon slices to each plate. Serve with grilled vegetables if desired.
- Yield: 4 servings
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