I try to get fish on my family’s table two or three times a week. The research describing the incredible heart and brain benefits to eating fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, is compelling.
An extra bonus? Fatty fish is more filling, too, which means I’m less hungry for late night snacks a few hours after dinner.
However, many home cooks shy away from making salmon, thinking it is too strong or fishy. With a few tips, you can be on your way to restaurant-quality salmon dishes.
First tip: buy salmon straight from the fish counter. Because it is so perishable, the fish counter will often have gorgeous wild salmon on sale. The fish should smell like a salty ocean, not “fishy.” Buy it and make it the same day.
Second tip: use high heat, and don’t overcook. The longer salmon cooks, the stronger the flavor, so a quick high-temp cook will keep the flavor mild, making outdoor grilling an ideal method for salmon cookery.
Cook to medium rare for best results — the interior of the salmon should be still pink and moist, not completely opaque, and certainly not dry enough to be “flaked.”
Last tip: try marinating the salmon to balance the flavor. Even a simple marinade of a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper will make a noticeable, if subtle, difference in the final result.
My secret ingredient for salmon marinades is pineapple juice, which adds both a little sweetness and a touch of acid, both ideal for a good flavorful soak.
Once you try this simple recipe, you’ll be grilling salmon all summer long. And in the winter: take heart — this recipe works beautifully for oven-roasting, too.
PINEAPPLE JUICE MARINATED SALMON
Start to Finish: 15 minutes
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
¼ cup chopped green onion
¼ teaspoon sriracha, or other hot sauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
Parsley and lemon slices for garnish, optional
4 5-ounce fillets of wild salmon
Mix the pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, green onion and oil in a medium bowl. Place half the marinade in a small bowl and set aside. Place the salmon fillets in the medium bowl and coat well with the marinade. Marinate for 20 minutes or up to 12 hours.
When ready to serve, heat the grill to medium high. Grill the fish until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Meanwhile, heat the reserved marinade in a small sauce pan until simmering. Spoon on the cooked salmon to serve. Garnish with chopped parsley and sliced lemon, if desired.