Until just a couple of days ago, the best salmon I have ever had was grilled up by Dave’s dad, Joe, at their cabin. I should say that pretty much whenever Joe is grilling salmon, that’s my favorite. It’s amazing. That was the truth until a couple days ago when Dave grilled up some Lemon Garlic Salmon. This fish was incredibly tender, almost creamy in texture, but not mushy. There wasn’t a hint of fishiness anywhere, and if you associate salmon with a fishy taste that probably means that you’ve been eating farm raised salmon. Yuck. Wild caught salmon from the Pacific Northwest has a fresh taste that has absolutely nothing in comparison to the muddy, fishy flavor of farm raised salmon.
The Lemon Garlic Salmon that Dave grilled up wasn’t just wild caught, it was caught by a cousin who just happened to be coming to our home for Dave’s graduation party (recipes from that party will be appearing next week). This wonderful cousin, of whom poets should sing, showed up at the party with a large, red cooler. He plunked it down in our kitchen and called Dave over. As he lifted the white plastic lid I think I heard angels singing, because inside were two enormous sides of the most beautiful pink salmon I’ve ever seen. I had learned early in our relationship that one of the benefits of marrying a west coast Canadian boy was that this got me into closer proximity to some of the best salmon in the world. I had no idea that this would also grant me family who showed up bearing gifts of fresh caught salmon.
We tightly wrapped and froze much of the salmon, but Dave saved out a large portion for the grill. Then he went into research mode, trying to figure out the flavor profile he wanted. In the end he chose a beautifully simple combination of lemon and garlic with just enough seasoning to highlight the amazing flavor of the salmon. Dave adapted this recipe from an Essence of Emeril recipe tweaking it a bit here and there. You could also use another firm fleshed fish like halibut or cod, but just be careful with the cooking time if you go for a smaller fish size. The perfect accompaniments for the Lemon Salmon are the Cabin Grilled Potatoes and a fresh green salad… especially if it is served with a glass of wine. In true style of not wanting to let anything go to waste, we toasted the salmon with glasses of sparkling wine leftover from the graduation party that had gone slightly flat. As luck would have it, the sparkling wine was so good that even the slightly flat version was still crisp with a slight effervescence that was amazing with the salmon. It was a perfect meal on the deck with my two amazing boys.
Note: When Garlic Turns Blue…
The salmon smelled fantastic. We brought the packet to the table and Dave did the big reveal, peeling the foil back, the delicious steam poured out revealing the perfectly cooked salmon layered with the beautiful golden lemons and studded with… cyanide blue garlic? What on earth had happened? Was the salmon safe to eat? And why on earth had turned the garlic turquoise blue? A bit of quick internet research later and I learned that it is an interesting, but non-toxic, effect that sometimes happens with young garlic, especially when it comes in contact with other acids like lemon, onion or wine, and low heat. So please enjoy the lovely turquoise hue of the garlic in our pictures and know that it tasted delicious. If you are curious about the glories of blue-green garlic, here’s a NY Times article on the subject.
Lemon Garlic Salmon
1 side of salmon, skin on
2 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- Preheat your grill or oven to 450 degrees.
- Rinse the salmon under cold running water and then pat dry.
- Lay a long piece of foil down on the work surface. The foil should be twice the length of your salmon, or use two pieces to be sure to cover your salmon completely.
- Butter the foil, leaving a couple inch border around the edges for sealing later on. Drizzle a little olive oil over the foil, and then lay the salmon onto the foil skin side down. Sprinkle with the salt and white pepper.
- In a small bowl mix the minced garlic with a little olive oil and salt, smashing the garlic against the side of the bowl with a spoon to make it a loose paste. Smear the garlic paste all over the salmon, and sprinkle the fresh rosemary over top.
- Layer the lemon slices over the salmon, covering as much of the surface as you can. Then sprinkle the onions over the lemon slices, and drizzle the entire packet with the remaining olive oil.
- Fold the foil edges up to seal the salmon tightly on all sides in the packet. Place the foil packet on the grill and monitor it closely. The salmon should steam inside the packet, retaining all the amazing moisture and flavor of the lemon, garlic and onions.
- Cook the salmon packet for 15-20 minutes, or until just cooked through but still moist. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon, thinner pieces cooking faster than thicker ones.
- Remove the packet to a serving plate and bring it to the table to serve from the foil. If your salmon had pin bones be careful to remove them carefully as you go, warning all diners that there could be pin bones in their portion. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the Lemon Garlic Salmon recipe.
- Preheat your grill or oven to 450 degrees.
- Thinly slice your potatoes and set them aside. Thinly slice your onions and set them aside.
- Place a baking sheet on your work station and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil that overlaps each side by an inch or two. Generously butter the foil, leaving a couple inches of border all around for when you close the packets.
- Layer half of the potatoes across the foil, overlapping them slightly and leaving enough foil around the edges that the packet can be sealed for the grill or oven. Dot the potatoes with thin slices of half of the butter.
- Layer half of the onions over top of the potatoes, and sprinkle the entire packet with salt and pepper.
- Layer the remaining potatoes over the onions, and dot the potatoes with thin slices of the remaining butter.
- Layer the remaining onions on top of the potatoes, and sprinkle the entire packet with salt and pepper.
- Place a second piece of foil over top of the potatoes and onions, and fold the edges up to seal the packet on all sides.
- Place the packet into your grill and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Monitor the heat during the cooking, adjusting as necessary. The sealed packet will steam the potatoes, but the heat should also create a golden crust on the bottom. Be careful that the bottom layer doesn’t “over caramelize” (aka burn).
- Remove the packet to a serving plate and bring it to the table. Rip open the foil to let the aroma of browned buttery potatoes and onions float across the table. Serve family style. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the Cabin Grilled Potatoes recipe.