Monday, September 3, 2012

The Impulse Salmon Fillet Part 1: Simply Grilled Salmon

I really need to be supervised when I go to the grocery store, more specifically, at the meat/seafood counters.  I've tried sticking to a list, but something off the list always makes it into my cart.  This week's off list impulse item:  A Huge Salmon Fillet.  It was on sale and so pretty on ice that I could not leave it at the store.
1.5 pounds of Coho Salmon

I have a love hate relationship with salmon.  I love it when other people cook it for me. When I make it myself, unless I make it en papillote, it usually comes out tasting way to fishy.  I know its an oily fish, but there's a difference between a rich fish flavor and fishy.

I would like to dedicate this post to Shane and Susan Epperly, my massage therapists and friends.  They have been ever so kind and helpful in spreading the word about my little blog.  If you are in the Austin area, they are worth a visit whether you seek pure relaxation or trigger point therapy.  Their strong and talented hands my body recover from my weekly grind of a desk job, masters swimming, weight training, and yard/house work.  Susan pointed out that we are prime examples that a paleo eater  and 2 lacto-ovo-pescetarians can get along, and well!  Off to the kitchen!

Since I purchased a large fillet, I've decided to make 2 different recipes with it.  The first recipe is the The Food Lovers Kitchen's Simply Grilled Salmon recipe.

I first rinsed, dried and removed the pin bones from the salmon fillet.  My fillet had many pin bones.  Removing the bones is tedious but necessary unless you want to be mindful of them while your eating. I use a clean food only pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the bones.

I added the lemon juice, oil, herbs, salt, pepper and 2 minced cloves of garlic to a glass salad dressing shaker.  Any jar or container would work for this.  I thought about just mixing the marinade ingredients in the plastic bag that the fillet was going to marinade in, but I think there was a good reason to make sure the marinade was combined well.  The marinade ingredients are basically a salad dressing.  Shaking it up makes sure it has emulsified and will give a consistent flavor for the fillet to absorb.  I don't think I could have achieved a good emulsification by mixing in the plastic bag.  I could be wrong, but that was my reasoning.

A garlic press is so handy!
I shook the marinade vigorously and poured it over the salmon in a plastic storage bag.  After sealing the bag I gently turned it in all directions to make sure the marinade had covered the salmon, put it in a bowl, and set it in the refrigerator for 50 minutes.  The recipe says to marinate the fish for up to an hour.     I had planned to leave it in for a full hour, but the second recipe I was cooking finished up at 50 minutes, so I decided 50 minutes would do.

My grill was already pretty hot from cooking the Cedar Plank Chipotle Salmon.  Before putting the salmon on the grill, I used tongs and folded a paper towel to apply some olive oil to the grill grate.  This helps with sticking.  It also helps to insure that this doesn't happen.  I put the salmon on the grill, closed the lid and set a timer for 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, I turned the salmon.  It only stuck a little.  Perhaps if I left it on a little longer, it would have released, but I wanted to follow the recipe.
Only a little left behind.
I was expecting a little more in the way of grill marks

After 4 minutes, I took the salmon off of the grill.

Cost and Accessibility of Ingredients: 

Salmon:  I don't think it was wild caught at $7.99/pound.  Am I concerned about mercury? No.  I used to be and for a while, I didn't buy much salmon as I could not afford wild caught which can run upwards of $20/pound.  After listening to a online talk from Chris Kresser, I am not so about mercury in my fish anymore.  The talk I heard isn't available for free but here is an article that explains why I no longer worry about mercury.  Do some research and decide what you're comfortable with.   

The rest of the ingredients in this recipe are all available at your big box grocery store and you may even already have them in your kitchen. 

Prep/Cooking time:  The recipe has a stated 1 hour prep time and 8-10 minute cook time.  This was right on the money.  It gives a difficulty level of two whisks.   Their rating system ranges from 1-3 whisks on a spectrum of "quick or easy" to "time consuming or tricky."  I would say this recipe is very easy to cook but not a quick meal as you do need to marinade the salmon.  With that said, as the marinade is quick to throw together and the actual cooking portion is short, I might even do this on a weeknight because I can fill the marinating time with making a side or doing my evening chores.  

Clean up:  A breeze!  If you are able to use a grill, you wont have any pans to scrub.  Yay!  
My plate with both salmon recipes:  Simply Grilled Salmon is at the bottom of the plate.
The Paleo Review:  Thumbs up!  Finally, I've made salmon for myself with no fishy flavor in sight!  I was lucky enough to have a taste tester over for dinner, Mike.  We tried both recipes at once so it was hard not to talk about them and not compare the recipes.  Mike thought the simply grilled salmon was really good but thought the flavors in the second recipe were better.  I thought the simply grilled salmon had a bright yet rich flavor.

This recipe did not provide oven instructions for those who do not have a grill.  I see no reason why you couldn't bake this recipe.  Search the internet a bit and I bet you can find suggested temperatures and times for baking salmon.

For me, since I have a grill, this will be my new go to recipe for grilled salmon.