Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On Salmon

Salmon is powerful food. Perhaps this power comes from the fish's remarkable life journey from fresh water to salt, and back again via olofactory sense of home, swimming and jumping uphill streams to lay those eggs and rest in peace. Salmon can hold a pleasing hold over the imagination, and from my Pacific Northwest perspective, it is the mythical yet absolutely present family meal. If I'm home in Seattle - Sunday Dinner is there, and if Sunday Dinner is there, it holds a high chance of salmon. We join all the Pacific coast and North Atlantic people in our proximity to the wild pink fish - and around here, it is Chinook or Sockeye. 

As you can see, our salmon normally gets grilled, as do many other Sunday meals. Here is a dinner we called "Grilled Salmon Three Different Ways." Everyone was feeling it a little differently...

#1 - Said salmon with a spicy mayo and spinach and lettuce salad, thrown haphazardly together from fridge to plate.

Salmon Burger with Bacon Jam and Backyard Arugula, with a Chickpea Tabouleh Salad

Layer the plate - Salmon atop Tabouleh

When Tom fled his native Detroit for San Franciso so many years ago, salmon was a new West Coast food that made a big impression, and to this day it is the only food that he enjoys preparing with a formidable enthusiasm. (The only other thing he is passionate about cooking is broccoli.) 

Tom McElroy's Salmon Grilling Tips
1. Buy the best, fattiest wild salmon you can. In the fat lieth the flavor. Season with oilve oil, salt and pepper. Family style means cooking the whole side, rather than filleting into portions.

2. Charcoal, please, not gas. After the coals look mostly coated with ash, flatten them out and you should have a 300-325 degree fire. Flesh side down first, then skin side. If your grill rack is not highly seasoned, make sure to oil it to minimize sticking. The Sockeye here was only one inch thick, thus it took less than 10 minutes total to cook. Cover with grill lid to lock in the flavor.

3. If the belly of the fillet is fairly thin, you can cut it off before the rest of the fish and snack on it.

Appetizer - succulent belly of the beast. 

4. Do not overcook salmon. As you can see here, the middle of the fish may look anxiously pink and raw in the middle, but it is not. As long as the fish has started to flake like this, you don't need to worry about that intensely colored center - it will keep cooking a bit when taken off the grill. Don't be afraid to pry inside and check. 

This is not the last time you will see salmon on Sunday Dinner. In the future we will share recipes for all manners of condiments and sauces for salmon. If you wanted to know what's in my spicy mayo above, shoot me a message. (*hint - it's not your normal chile spice or sauce....) If you didn't know that Bacon Jam existed - click on this link:

It's 6 pm and another Sunday dinner awaits, so I need to run. 

Sweet Salmon dreams to you. 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on a beautiful website launch - looks delicious. I'll bite: What's in your spicy mayo?


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