I’m sure that is written somewhere profound. In preparing my latest entry, The Shore Lunch, for the Canadian Food Experience Project, I was craving fish. The dilemma, as you’ll deduce from the entry, is that I’m unable to find wild, fresh trout where I now live. Inspired by my dill, now starting to go to seed, and with thoughts of lemon swirling in my head, salmon seemed a great substitute which would also allow me to use some seasonal flavours.
I could have made this recipe easier by skipping the marinade — but the truth is, the marinade is the only work in the dish and the dish would pale without the technique. So, yes, you have to plan a few hours to let the fish sit, but other than that, you’re going to find few recipes for salmon that are quicker, easier and tastier meals.
The trick to the “fresh” marinade is that is allows maximum dill/lemon flavours to permeate the salmon without having to overcook the fish which is a definite no-no. Choose salmon steaks on the small to medium size, but regardless of size, make sure they’re a good 1″ (2.5cm) thick. Bigger and/or thicker steaks might take an extra 30-60 seconds; either way, test for doneness and, I repeat, don’t overcook.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Stand time: 90 minutes
Cook time: 9 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon and Dill
- 6 small/medium sized salmon steaks 1″ thick
- zest of one lemon
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons of fresh dill, divided
- 2 tablespoons of onion, diced
- grating of fresh pepper
- Olive oil
- Seasoning salt
- Fresh lemon wedges
- Clean salmon steaks under running water and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels. Place salmon on a platter and season with fresh ground pepper.
- Zest the lemon and sprinkle the salmon, top and bottom with the zest.
- Finely chop two tablespoons of dill. For the marinade, it is ok to use parts of the stem as this will be discarded before cooking, anyway. Sprinkle dill over the salmon, top and bottom.
- Dice the onion and sprinkle it over the salmon, top and bottom.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the salmon steaks.
- Cover fish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove the salmon 30 minutes before cooking and let stand at room temperature.
→ Bringing the salmon up closer to room temperature, and reducing the temperature shock of putting cold food on the grill, will produce a more tender and flaky fish … and it also promotes faster and deeper absorption of the marinade flavours.
- Preheat the grill to 400ºF. Make sure you wipe the grates clean with an oiled paper towel. This will reduce any sticking and tearing of the fish.
- After 30 minutes at room temperature, gently remove the bulk of the fresh marinade. Carefully rub olive oil over steaks and season with salt.Prepare lemon wedges and chop additional tablespoon of dill (without stems) and set aside.
- Place steaks on grill for 2½ minutes then, optionally, give them a quarter turn being careful that they don’t stick to the grates and grill for 2 minutes more (4½ minutes total). Turn the steaks with a long spatula and cook for another 4½ minutes.
Test for doneness with a fork near the centre bone. Fish should just start to pull away the bone with the fork and be opaque throughout. Remove from grill.
- Serve on plates with a sprinkling of fresh dill and fresh lemon wedges.