Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Salmon: It's not just for Grizzlies ...
... but your family might snarl like one over the last piece of salmon prepared in this recipe! Here in the beautiful and bountiful Pacific Northwest, I have easy access to both fresh and smoked varieties. Grilled salmon is a frequent visitor to our table, and was front and center on our menu tonight. Our dining experience included Grilled Salmon with Onion Crispy Strips, Baked Tater Wedges, and Honey Fruit Salad. All yummy and all gluten free.
After having such great success a couple days ago with the dry rub used on the pulled pork, I got to wondering if such a rub would work on salmon, too. I've prepared salmon a million different ways, make that a zillion different ways (ok, that's an exaggeration -- but if you are what you eat, I can expect to grow gills soon), yet I've not actually put a dry rub on one and allowed it to cure for hours. So, after searching the Internet, I found a rub on the Family Fun site that sounded pretty good. I tweaked it just a little bit, and the results were pretty darn tasty.
To make this delectable salmon, you will need:
Enough salmon fillet(s) to feed your grizzlies, uh, I mean yourself and family.
Rub: 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1.5 tsp black pepper, 1.5 tsp celery seed, 1.5 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder, couple shakes cumin.
Step 1: Combine the rub ingredients. Set aside a couple tsp's to use later on.
Step 2: Generously sprinkle the rub all over both sides of the fillet; really press it in with your hands.
Step 3: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple hours. (I did about 5 hours)
Step 4: Preheat gas grill on high.
Step 5: Remove salmon from the fridge, and rinse off the rub. Pat dry. Don't skip this step!
Step 6: Using the reserved rub, sprinkle a little bit on or just use salt/pepper or your favorite season salt. Lightly but completely coat the salmon with a little bit of olive oil. NOTE: At this point, I cut the fillets into squares. *Let's pause moment for those who never slice fillets.* Ok, for those of us who don't enjoy flipping entire fillets on the grill, go ahead and cut your fillets into palm size pieces. It makes serving a snap, and everyone feels like they are getting extra when they get two pieces. I assure you the salmon will not dry out. (Just check out the top photo!)
Step 7: Place salmon skin side down on super heated grill. Immediately turn the heat to med-low and CLOSE the grill lid. Let it sit for a full five minutes. Don't touch it. No peeking either!
Step 8: Open the lid, and with your handy dandy spatula, carefully flip the salmon over. Close the lid. Wait 3 more minutes. Open the lid again, and remove those beauties to a platter. Let them sit at least 5 more minutes before you serve them.
Step 9: Let your inner grizzly out and enjoy the feast.
NOTE: This could easily be done in the oven or stove top ... especially if you don't like grill marks on your food!
The Baked Tater Wedges were a snap. I used russets and sliced about 8 potatoes into 6-8 wedges each. Place the potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with season salt and pepper. I used Red Robin's brand of season salt and my cubs went wild over it. Bake in a preheated 400 oven for about 15 minutes, turn over the wedges, and put back in the over for about 15 more minutes. Keep an eye on them ... you're looking for golden brown not burnt. I was channeling Marjie and so I turned the broiler on for the last 5 minutes and got a real crispy golden brown lickety split.
The Honey Fruit Salad was a great compliment with the salmon. Simply slice up firm bananas, sweet or tart apples, blueberries, and strawberries. Er, um, you'll notice there are NO strawberries in my salad photo. You may recall my earlier post about the strawberry devouring debacle my grizzlies engaged in. Bottom line is I'm out of strawberries. Back to the salad ... drizzle with a couple generous swirls of honey and a splash of champagne vinegar. Toss gently and serve. If you don't have champagne vinegar, just use honey alone. There are some great desert wine dressings that you could make and serve with this, but my cubs were hungry and prowling the kitchen, so additional prep was not gonna happen.
The onion crispy strips were, I must say, outstanding. Like this entire meal, these puppies were gluten free, too. Thinly slice one sweet onion into half-rings (you could do whole rings, but I like half-zies). Place in a medium sized bowl and cover with 3 parts buttermilk and 1 part milk. Don't rush off to the store if you need buttermilk, you can just use regular milk. Cover and set in the fridge; I had them in there for about 2 hours, but I think 1 hour will do. When you are ready to make them, carefully heat up about 1 inch of oil in a heavy saute pan. I used my new cast iron skillet. Love that baby. In a pie tin, combine about 1 cup of gluten free all purpose flour with a couple teaspoons of corn starch, and a couple quick shakes of cayenne pepper. Remove the onions from the fridge, and drain them well. Working quickly, take a small handful of onions and toss them in the flour. Remove to a plate. Repeat until all the onions are coated. Now, carefully place small handfuls of onion strips in the oil. They should sizzle immediately. Adjust your heat up or down depending on the sizzle. You want the onions to have a strong, constant sizzle, but not a boiling sizzle nor a wimpy one. After you place the onions in the pan, stir them up a bit if they are clumped together. As they sizzle, occasionally flip them over so both sides are golden brown. With a slotted spoon or one of those special deep fryer slotted strainer gizmo's, remove the onions and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining onions. I used one onion and divided it into four or five batches. If your oil gets gunky, add a little more to the pan in between batches allowing time for it to heat up to be sizzle worthy. Oh, add a couple of grinds of sea salt on the crispy onions and you can call your grizzlies to the table to eat.