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Simple Grilled Salmon

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Grilled Salmon Seafood Fish Healthy Entree
Annabelle Breakey/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This is more of a method than a recipe, but it is how I cook salmon -- or any firm-fleshed, fatty fish -- on the grill. Like a steak, the ideal grilled salmon has a seared crust, a crispy skin (which you most definitely should eat!) and yet is still medium-rare inside. This method works best with king salmon, but will work with any kind: sockeye, silver, pink -- even farmed Atlantic salmon. Serve your grilled salmon with a tangy sauce, such as the chimichurri in the picture.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb of salmon per person
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • A lemon

Preparation:

If you have salmon steaks with the bone, it is a good idea to wrap the steak with kitchen twine so the belly flaps stay close to the steak itself; this also keeps the shape of the steak better. Cut boneless steaks or fillets into serving pieces

Salt the salmon lightly and set it out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cooking.

Fire up the grill. Make sure the surface is clean -- this is very important. Get some vegetable oil ready to wipe on the grill later.

After 15-20 minutes of setting out, pat dry the salmon and then use a butter knife to scrape the skin side. You want to get any moisture or scales off. What you are doing with this is drying the skin side better, so it will not stick to the grill.

Coat the salmon with oil.

When the fire is good and hot (I use high heat on my gas grill), wipe down the grate with a paper towel that has been dipped in the oil.

Put the salmon on the grill skin side up. I know, it is counter-intuitive. Do it anyway. Why? Because you want a good sear on the fish, and you cannot do this well if you start skin-side down -- the fish will cook too much and will fall apart when you try to flip it. The uncooked skin helps hold things together.

Leave the salmon steak on the grill for a solid 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness. A thin sockeye fillet may need closer to 3 minutes. But seriously, don't move it. You will know it is ready when you can slide a spatula underneath the salmon. It may stick in one or two spots, but it should mostly be crusted over.

Gently flip the salmon onto the skin side, and leave it again for at least 3 minutes. Exactly how long depends on thickness, but it'll never be less than 2 minutes on high heat. Watch the fish, and if the flakes begin to separate, you're done.

Take the salmon off the heat, sprinkle lemon juice on it, then let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce (I have a few of my favorites linked below).

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