Salmon is a great choice for the grill or grill pan. Its meaty texture keeps it intact; its healthy oils keep it moist; and its full flavors hold up to the intensity of the char—not to mention, its fresh red hues are super-inviting. It’s also widely available and economical. Here are some tips.
Oil it up. All fish tend to stick to the grill grate or pan, even fattier fish like salmon. To prevent this, dry the salmon well with a paper towel and coat the fillet with a small amount of oil just before cooking.
Heat it up. A really hot grill or pan prevents sticking and creates delicious char marks quickly so the salmon does not overcook. You can always lower the heat later in the cooking process if necessary.
Cook it up. As salmon fillets cook quickly, it’s easy to overcook them. Watch closely for doneness. They’re best when the center is still a touch medium rare and dark pink.
You can grind fennel seeds in a spice grinder (or clean coffee mill) or with a mortar and pestle.
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
11/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Prepare grill.
2. Combine all ingredients except salmon and olive oil in a bowl.
3. Brush each salmon fillet with about 1 teaspoon oil.
4. Press spice mixture on skinless side of salmon. Let stand 15 minutes. Place skin side up on grill grate. Cover grill. Cook over high heat about 3 minutes. Flip and cook, skin side down, 5minutes or until done but still red in the center. The grilling time depends on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the fillet. Serves 4.
Per serving: 320 calories, 17g fat, 105mg chol., 39g prot., 1g carbs., 0g fiber, 520mg sodium
Soy-Marinated Peppered Salmon
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame and garlic in a heavy zip-top plastic bag. Add salmon, seal bag and turn to coat salmon well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
2. Remove salmon from marinade (discard marinade or save some for drizzling on salmon while cooking). Coat skinless side of salmon with black pepper.
3. Heat oil in a grill pan or sauté pan over medium heat. Place salmon skin-side up in pan and cook about 5 minutes. Flip and cook other side about 5 minutes, until fish flakes with a fork. Serves 4.
Per serving: 290 calories, 14g fat, 93g chol., 34g prot., 4g carbs., 0g fiber, 482mg sodium
Blackened Salmon with Cilantro-Lime Cream
1 cup light sour cream
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons blackened seasoning (such as Paul Prudhomme Blackened
Redfish Magic Seasoning)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. To prepare cilantro-lime cream, combine sour cream with half the lime rind and juice. Add cilantro and salt. Taste and add more rind and juice if desired.
2. To prepare salmon, sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning on fish. Heat oil in a grill pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add fish, and sear until fillets move easily in pan, about 5 minutes. When seared, turn fillets over and sear other side 5 minutes. Serve each fillet with 2 tablespoons Cilantro-Lime Cream (You will have half the cream left over). Serves 4.
Per serving: 390 calories, 25g fat, 125mg chol., 37g prot., 1g carbs., 0g fiber, 540mg sodium