This is more of a method than a recipe. It's an easy way to cook salmon or any firm-fleshed, fatty fish on the grill.
This method works best with king salmon but you can safely use it with any kind: sockeye, silver, pink, even famed Atlantic salmon.
Serve your grilled salmon with a tangy sauce, such as chimichurri.
- 1 pound salmon (boneless)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil (vegetable)
- 1 lemon
- Cut salmon into serving pieces.
- Salt the salmon lightly and set it out at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking.
- Fire up the grill. Make sure the surface is clean—this is very important. Get some vegetable oil ready to wipe on the grill later.
- After 15 to 20 minutes of setting out, pat the salmon dry and then use a butter knife to scrape the skin side to get any moisture or scales off. This makes the skin side drier so it will not stick to the grill.
- Coat the salmon with oil.
- When the fire is good and hot, wipe down the grate with a paper towel that has been dipped in the oil.
- Put the salmon on the grill skin side up. It seems counter-intuitive but do it anyway because you want a good sear on the fish, and you cannot do this well if you start skin-side down—the fish will cook too much and will fall apart when you try to flip it. The uncooked skin helps hold things together.
- Leave the salmon on the grill for a solid 4 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness. A thin sockeye fillet might need closer to 3 minutes on one side. But seriously, don't move it. You will know it is ready when you can slide a spatula underneath the salmon. It might stick in one or two spots, but it should be mostly crusted over.
- Gently flip the salmon onto the skin side and leave it again for at least 3 minutes, a bit longer if it is on the thick side. Exactly how long depends on thickness, but it'll never be less than 2 minutes on high heat. Watch the fish, and if the flakes begin to separate, you're done.
- Take the salmon off the heat, sprinkle lemon juice on it, then let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.