Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cooking Salmon Saturday Night!

My wife loves salmon. So, when I find it on sale, it is a special night for cooking. Salmon is a fatty fish and stands up very well on the grill. When I say fatty, I'm talking about the good fat, the omega-3 fatty acid.
There are a number of ways to cook salmon on the grill. There is direct grilling. When I do that, I leave the skin on so I can easily flip it. Another method is plank cooking. I enjoy that if I want to add a smoky taste to the salmon. I use cedar planks especially created for this. Don't buy just any cedar for this. If you go to a home improvement store, you will find cedar, but it has been treated for outdoor use. DO NOT BUY IT! It is not for cooking. Another favorite method of cooking is pouch cooking. It is a very good method for cooking salmon and it guarantees a moist salmon.
When you grill salmon, I recommend having the salmon cut into steaks. Alton Brown, one of my absolute favorite chefs, has an episode of "Good Eats" which shows you exactly how to make a salmon steak. I have included a link to the video for your convenience. The actual segment is about 5 minutes into the video. Click here for the link. Once you get your grill up to temperature and oil the grates, you are ready.
As for cooking a fillet, I recommend flesh side down first to give your salmon great grill marks and then flip over to the skin. Yes, I said, "Skin." I recommend that you leave the skin on the fish for a couple of reasons. The first is that most of the omega-3 fatty acids are near the skin. In fact, it is in the layer between the skin and the fleshy part of the fish. The second is when you cook fillets with the skin with the flesh side down first, when you flip the fillet, you are now cooking the oil into the meat. That's right. The fat is begin pushed up into the meat due to the heat. The third reason is that the skin keeps everything intact. You don't want your salmon falling apart.
What about seasoning? I am a purist when it comes to seasoning. A little salt, pepper, maybe some dill. My wife likes her salmon with lemon pepper. That's why I buy a whole fillet. I cut it to sizes for my wife and myself.
Safety tip. Before you cook, check for bones. Small bones called pin bones are sometimes messed. Just use a small pair of CLEAN needle nose pliers or a hemostat (you can buy them at tackle stores and most culinary stores). Pull them out and you are done.
As for sides, I prefer to saute some green beans in REAL butter with garlic and server with grilled new potatoes.
As I always say, no matter how, what or when you cook, it's all good.

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