June 01, 2010

Tips for Grilling Salmon ..

Salmon is not my fish of choice if I had a wide selection, but kids like it and it is available freely...so we end up grilling salmon.:) I am sure all the Kerala fishes will taste really good on the grill. Especially wrapped in banana leaves and places on the embers.. but that's another post. The banana leaves help in holding the fish together and imparts its unique flavor to it too.

So try to eat more of the wild caught salmon than the more common fresh water varieties. The tastes takes getting used to  since we started out with fattier fresh water salmon over here.  Choose  salmon filets about half inch to one inch thick. Remove skin if desired. Most of the time the skins peels off after grilling, so I leave it on but then I need to sear that side again to get the crispiness. Remove the skin is an art that I haven't perfected so I get around it.
Any seasoning mixed with olive oil tastes good with salmon. Try a simple assortment of  dry sea salt and pepper crusted heavily as a ry rub and then grilled. Or  mix together crushed  fresh garlic, salt, coarse pepper and a bit of lemon juice. Sometimes I add crushed red pepper flakes  to this to spice it up. At other times, I use the "nadan" recipe of red chili powder, turmeric, salt and lemon juice and oil to really have a grilled "fried" fish. Adding the oil to the marinade helps in cooking the spices and developing a crust as the fish is being grilled.
Do not marinate the salmon for too long or it will turn soft and mushy.

Where can you go wrong?

The biggest problem I face is flipping the fish over. I haven't perfected it but having a really wide metal spatula helps in holding the fish up. Something like this or this for the outdoor grill is good. Placing the fish on an oiled foil helps to avoid sticking.
Timing: Fillets cook almost instantly...2 or 3 minutes and you should see them turning opaque and the fish comes off the pan or grill. If they are sticking, let it cook.
Slices need more time.. about 5-8 minutes on each side. If they are really thick , it needs to be covered and cooked on the grill to allow the heat to permeate.

Grill: Clean the grill thoroughly. Scrub the grates with a wire brush and wipe it down so there are no residues which will stick to the fish. Prepare the grill,  to medium high heat. If placing directly on the grill, oil the grate with a brush or with a half onion dipped in oil and  place the fish perpendicular to the grill. Grill on medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Brush with oil as you turn it over once and let it sear. There are fish baskets and slotted grill sheet also that you can use for grilling fish which  makes it easier to handle and flip the fish.

Oven: Preheat to 450 F.
Skillet method:
A cast iron skillet is invaluable for this. Work well with fat slices, not so much with thin fillets. Oil the skillet and let it become hot on the stove top. Place the fish fillets on it and let it sear for about 3-4 minutes without moving it. Flip over and sear the other side. You will see it turning opaque as it cooks through. Just to finish it off, cover the skillet with foil and place the skillet in the oven for another 5 minutes. The fish is done and ready, but  if you prefer really well done and crispy,  brush with oil and  let it bake uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Oven Baking Method: Line a baking tray with foil , brush with butter (kids love it) or oil and place the fish in it spaced apart an  bake for 6-12 minutes, flipping it over once in between. Broil in the last two minutes to get a crust.
The timings are all approximate and you have to try it out and figure out what works best for you. If you are grilling flat fishes such as pompano/pomfret slices, the oven is really not needed.A cast iron skillet works very well to give it a semi fry/semi grilled taste on the stove top itself.

Most big fish steaks are good on the grill. Salmon, Mackerel,  Porgies, Butter fish, Striped bass, shrimps, king Mackarel etc. 
Related Recipes: Grilled Halibut with Indian rub
Green Spicy Grilled Tilapia
Meen Pollichathu


Asha said...

Looks so yum. I do love Salmon although I don't prefer to eat Seafood. Love the crust on them. I have seen very thin fish spatulas you are talking about at William Sonoma! :)

Sarah Naveen said...

I havent mastered the skill of flipping it yet!!!!!!
I dont usually grill slamon,but go for Tilapia..mainly cos of the red flesh color ;), but eat it only when it is cooked in our proper malayali way...strange right...
u know wat i dont even clean fish, makes me puke..but navee kazhuki thannal ....njan kari vechu nannayyittu njan kazhikkum....hahhahahahhaah
but ur grilled salmon looks delicious and not reddish ...i can eat that..
btw i m back...heat was unsahikable , n both of us were sick...pakshe it was so much fun,2 engagements and 2 weddings and some other functions ..all in a month.... and i miss everything now..I jus wanna get some power to freeze that time and be in there always :(

AdukalaVishesham said...

looks perfect... and loved your write-up

starry said...

Thanks for all the grilling tips.looks delicious and I love salmon.

Happy Cook said...

I tried to coment in the Dal Mahakani place but I didn't see a womment section, so here it is love the dal makhani my fav if i goes to India to veg place and this just looks so so droolie delicous.

Love the grilled salmon too really perfectly grilled.

RV said...

I recently bought a cast iron grill pan and these tips are really useful to me. Thanks for sharing.

Ragini Miranda's Kitchen said...

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Pls follow if you like it .

An Open Book said...

salmon is not a fav of mine but i love the grilling ideas though!