Salmon is a delicious, popular, and readily-available fish that has many health benefits. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered essential fats because your body cannot create them on its own. Omega-3s helps to improve arterial health. Salmon is also an incredible source of protein, which is essential to any well-balanced diet. It helps muscles to form and recover and helps you to stay fuller, longer. Salmon is also high in B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and antioxidants.
In addition to the myriad health benefits it offers, salmon can be prepared in a number of ways and has great flavor. It does not have the “fishy” flavor that turns many people off of fish. It can be sauteed, steamed, baked, poached, smoked, and even grilled. In fact, grilled salmon is always a crowd pleaser.
Preparing grilled salmon can be a little overwhelming if you have never done it before, but it does not have to be this way. Following a few simple instructions, you too can cook up a perfect salmon fillet on the grill.
What Salmon to Choose
Most people prefer king salmon when grilling, but this is all just a personal preference. Coho, pink, and sockeye salmon are all perfect for grilling. If you are grilling for more than one person, plan to make six ounces of salmon per person. Use this amount whether you are grilling individual filets or a whole side of salmon.
Gather Your Ingredients
The first step in making any professional-tasting meal is getting all of your ingredients and equipment together. Start by preheating your grill to medium-high. Next, gather your ingredients. You will need skin-on salmon fillets, cooking oil, sea salt, black pepper, and lemon wedges.
Next, you will need to prepare the salmon. After rinsing and drying the fish, check for pin bones. These are the very small bones near the split of the filet that are extremely unpleasant to find when you are eating. You can pull tiny pin bones out with tweezers. For best results, make sure to pull them out in the direction that they are pointing. If you don’t see any, use your finger to feel for them.
Oil And Season
It is almost time to throw the fish on the grill, but there are a few things you need to do first. Add a brushing of oil to the skin side of the filet, and then lightly season both sides of the filet with salt and pepper. Also, brush a bit of oil onto the grate of the grill.
Time to Grill
Carefully place your salmon filets on the grill, skin side down. Pull the grill cover down, and do not disturb the fish for the next ten to fifteen minutes. When the filets start to release fat, and the flesh begins to flake, they are ready to serve.
Salmon should always be served in a dish with lemon wedges and fresh herbs. These are perfect accompaniments to a delicious piece of salmon. Appropriate sides include roasted vegetables, garden salad, grilled asparagus (see recipe below), or a wedge salad.
If you purchased salmon without the skin, have no fear. You can still grill it deliciously. Take a piece of aluminum foil and punch holes through it every inch or so to drain any excess fat. Add a good amount of oil to the aluminum foil and place the salmon filet on top. You can now grill it exactly as described above.
While grilling is a wonderful way to prepare salmon, it is only one way to get the job done. Salmon can be cured in salt and sugar for gravlax, made into cakes and fried, baked en papillote, which translates to “in-paper,” and even slow-roasted. All of these methods result in a delicious piece of fish.
Grilled Asparagus Side Dish
Grilled asparagus makes the perfect side dish for grilled salmon. When shopping for asparagus, look for stalks that are firm and tips that are tight and completely closed. Line up your asparagus and trim off the ends. Turn your grill on high. While the grill heats up, toss the asparagus with a mixture of olive oil, pepper, and salt. Place the stalks on the preheated grill and turn them occasionally. They should be finished cooking in about 8 minutes. While waiting, char a lemon that you’ve sliced in half. Once the lemon and the asparagus are nicely charred, remove them from the heat and place on a large plate. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil then juice the lemon right on top for the perfect side dish.