grilling

Grilled scallion bread

Dear old friends were excited to tell me about their latest discovery. During a kitchen remodel they became deeply dependent on their grill. And one of them thought to put dough on the grill and grill the bread. The other of them thought that her husband was a genius for coming up with this. She thought I would be excited and amazed. She thought I’d want to write about it.

“I know!” I said, “I love making grill bread.”

“You know about it?” she asked, disappointed. “It’s a thing?”

“Yeah,” I said, “it’s a thing.”

Her husband nodded. He had been less impressed with his innovation from the beginning. He knew it was a thing.

This summer I branched out from my classic it’s-like-a-crack-pretzel version and took inspiration from a cilantro-scallion bread in the July issue of Bon Appetit. But I didn’t have cilantro or sesame seeds at the cabin and… well, there were several changes. The most important one, however, was popping the scallion-laden spirals on the grill. Some fell apart, some got a bit, um, charred, but that was a grillmaster/cook’s error rather than a recipe problem. Overall they were scrumptious.

Scallion grilled bread

This dough is much softer than others that I’ve grilled. Keep the grill at a steady, medium heat so they can cook through without burning and without you having to try and move them before the dough is nicely “set” so they don’t fall apart as some of mine did when I had to move them away from the intense heat on my overly-hot grill (in my defense, I had to move the lit grill up a stair to get in beneath an overhang when it started to rain and the coals shifted around most annoyingly).

Dissolve 2 teaspoons dry active yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Make sure it gets a bit foamy to make sure the yeast is alive and activated. Stir in 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons fine sea salt to dissolve. Then stir in 4 tablespoons melted and cooled butter and 1 egg. Stir about 2 cups flour into this wet mixture. You will have quite a sticky dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour or so or overnight in the fridge.

When the mixture has about doubled, chop up 4 scallions/green onions and combine them with 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds if you’re so inclined.

Punch down the dough and knead on a well floured surface so it’s a nice smooth mass. Roll or pat and stretch the whole mass into a 12-inch long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread the dough all over with the scallion-cumin seed mixture, loosely roll the rectangle the long way into a log (the dough will expand and you want the spirals you’ll end up with to stay flat spirals and not puff up into cones), set the seam-side down and cut into 12 even disks about 1-inch thick each. Lay the disks out on a floured surface, pressing them a bit more flat or shaping them back into round disks if they got squished as you do so, cover with a clean towel, and let sit until a bit puffy.

Heat a grill to as even a medium heat (you can hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds) as you can. Brush the clean cooking grate with oil and brush the top of the disks with oil. Set the disks, oil-side-down on the grill and cook until the dough is a bit “set” and breads are well browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Oil the raw tops of the breads and turn them over to cook on the other side until cooked through and well browned on both sides, another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve somewhat immediately because fresh, hot bread is such a treat.

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Grilled corn salad

I have three sisters-in-law. They are each massively impressive in their own way. Their most important trait, of course, is the immense love they have all shown me and mine. A most treasured additional characteristic they share is the ability to make me laugh out loud. And really, that is all I ask of anyone.

What they may not realize, however, is how much they have helped me professionally.

They would not have realized this because none of them are writers. Or cooks.

What they are is this: smart, on-the-ball, professional women with children. Two of them work really amazingly full-time at rather beyond-demanding jobs, the third is career-shifting while raising three kids which hurts my head to even think about. Ow. They have all, over the years, sat and watched me cook. They have all, on various occasions, complimented the results. They want to feed themselves and their families in pleasurable and healthful ways.

And so when I write up a recipe I always image Heidi and Michelle and Mary cooking it. They are, collectively, my recipe barometer. On good days they are merry companions and we swing along through soups and salads with great fun. On bad days they are the witches from MacBeth, thwarting me at every turn with bad news and extra work because they do not already know how to grill a turkey or can’t agree on what, exactly, “blanching” is. How quickly will they, in all honesty, be able to mince those shallots? Do they keep (or want to keep) whole wheat pastry flour in the house? Will Heidi be able to find Asian eggplant easily in Minneapolis, or will it require an extra errand? Am I sure Michelle’s market in Los Angeles carries harissa, or must a substitution be stated? Will Mary, in her Greenwich Village apartment, need an alternative to grilling proper? I must admit that I do not answer their (imaginary) concerns as often as I might, but at least I do think of them, and that is thanks to my sisters-in-law.

One of them (Heidi) made a grilled corn salad this summer that got me thinking. It got me thinking about how to make an even more delicious grilled corn salad. I then made that even more delicious salad last weekend and another of them (Michelle) was quite taken by the results. Dare I hope that the third (Mary) finds a grill and cooks this up? (Hint: char the corn under a broiler instead of on a grill!)

Spicy grilled corn salad

This is yummers, plain and simple. Good all on its own, I’ve enjoyed it served with a lovely grilled tri-tip, a grilled chicken, and some grilled bratwurst (less of a perfect marriage, but tasty nonetheless). The green chile dressing could, of course, be used in plenty of other ways if one were so inclined.

Shuck 6 or 8 ears of fresh sweet corn. Brush them lightly with oil and set, along with 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, on a hot grill. Cook, turning as you think of it, until the corn is lightly charred all over and the chiles are nicely blackened. Take everything off the grill as it’s done and let sit until it’s cool enough to handle.

Remove the blackened skin, stem, and seeds from the chiles. Chop them up – if they sort of fall apart as you do this, all the better. Put them in a large salad-type bowl and add 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some generous grindings of black pepper, and enough salt to make the taste pop. Finely chop a small red onion or a few shallots. (You can put the chopped results in a sieve or strainer, rinse with cold water, and turn out onto paper towels to pat dry if you want to tame the pungency of the raw onion.) Add the onion to the bowl and toss with the dressing. Cut the grilled corn kernels from the cobs and toss them with dressing and onion. Chop up as much cilantro as you have (about 1 cup of leaves works nicely, but more or less is fine) and add that to the mix. Serve it up. Note that a handful or two of crumbled cotija cheese (feta is a fine enough substitute) would not be out of order.

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Grilled halloumi and vegetables

Halloumi, for those of you not in the know, is a Greek cheese that you can grill or broil or saute. It doesn’t melt! Why doesn’t it melt? I’m thinking it has to do with its crazy rubber-like, chewy, salty nature. While I was at the family cabin this summer, my parents went back and forth between their house in Minneapolis during the week and up to the cabin on the weekends. So every week my mom would call or email and want to know what I wanted her to bring up. One week I thought having grilled halloumi and vegetables would be a nice dinner and asked her to get 2 or 3 packages of halloumi.

She ended up with “3 lbs halloumi” written on her shopping list.

We had quite a few grilled halloumi dinners. Enough, in fact, for me to finally figure out that the way to grill it isn’t in cubes on a skewers, which tends to make the cheese crack and break apart and stick to the grill, but cut into long rectangles put straight on the grill that can be manipulated individually, as well as decently oiled, making them easier to cook evenly.

Notice above the technique of putting the same vegetables on the same skewer, allowing for different cooking times for the different veggies (tomatoes are done quickly, red onions take a bit more time; see more about grilling vegetables). Just skewer everything, brush everything (including the halloumi pieces) with olive oil, sprinkle the veggies with a bit of salt (seriously, the cheese is really salty, so just enough to season them a bit), and grill until done how you like them. As you can see, we like things with a crusty edge at our house. Some may even call it a bit burnt, but we don’t.

Even my dad, who is not a particular fan of meatless dinners, loved the hearty texture of halloumi along with brightly colored grilled cherry tomatoes and chunks of zucchini. He also got pretty into grilling it. As he put it, “it’s kind of fun to grill something like that, that looks so pretty.”

We served it with a lemon orzo pasta (cook orzo in chicken broth, drain, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest – add chives or parsley with whatever floats your boat and serve it hot, warm, or even chilled) and a mint chutney (whirl a bunch of mint, a hot green chile like  a serrano, a few stems of parsley, a clove of garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and salt to taste in a blender until smooth and saucy).

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Harissa and how to swing it

There is usually a jar of harissa – the top assiduously covered with a fairly thick layer of olive oil – sitting somewhere in my fridge. It sits waiting for me to make couscous (the dish not just the teeny tiny pasta), at which point I remember to pull it out of the fridge and dollop it on dinner.

Alas and alack, I am at the family cabin and there is no jar of homemade harissa sitting in the fridge. There are about a dozen jars of jam, four of which are strawberry. There are plenty of bottles of hot sauce, three of which are Tabasco – not even, I feel the need to add, different types of Tabasco; just three bottles of Tabasco so if, say, three people were eating they could each have their own bottle of Tabasco at the ready in case something remotely bland went down. There are eight different jars of mustard opened and ready to spread on sausages.

There are, in short, plenty of condiments. We lack not for condiments here on our little bit of Northern Minnesota. But is that good enough for me? Absolutely not. So I made some homemade harissa. Since I knew we would use the whole batch, I made it fancy, with herbs. It was crazy delicious.

Homemade harissa

If you like things hot, quite hot, toss a few arbol chiles in with the larger red ones.

2 ounces of large dried red chiles (ones labeled “New Mexican” work well here)

4 cloves garlic

4 stems of flat-leaf parsley

16 large mint leaves

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Put them in a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let that all sit for about half an hour. Lift the chiles from the water and put them in a blender or food processor (let some of their soaking liquid cling to them). Toss in the garlic, parsley, mint leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Whirl this into a relatively smooth paste-like sauce. You can add a few tablespoons of the chile-soaking liquid to thin it, if you like. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice, if you like.

Now what to do with it. Dollop it on stuff you want to taste hotter and more delicious. Steak, chicken, and vegetable stews are some of my favorites. Or, and this worked out quite well, use half of the above batch as a marinade for 1 1/2 pounds of chunks of leg of lamb, letting it all sit together for a few hours or overnight, and then grill those lamb chunks until browned and cooked medium rare. Serve with the reserved harissa.

Notice how the lamb is not all jammed onto the skewer. Notice how each lamb piece has a little room to breath. Please feel free to mimic this skewering method.

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Grilled mussels

The fishmonger at Lund’s grocery store in Minneapolis did not want to sell these mussels to my mom. She tried to buy them a week earlier and arrived up north at the cabin only to report that the guy wouldn’t sell them to her if she wasn’t going to cook them that same day.

WTF? I mean, ideally, yes, you eat any shellfish two seconds after you take it from the sea, but you don’t have to. Bivalves, in particular, tend to close themselves up and can hang out for a bit before things get ugly. Plus, you can tell when mussels aren’t good anymore – either they are open and won’t close before you cook them or they won’t open when you do cook them. Either way, things are clear.

I asked Mom to go back, to not involve him in the schedule, to slyly ask how often they got fresh mussels into the store and when the mussels she was buying had arrived, and to please bring me some mussels (my love of mussels is long-standing and pure) – I would worry about whether they were good or not.

It ends up Lund’s gets mussels in everyday. That means the mussels I grilled on Friday night, that my mom bought Thursday afternoon, had most likely been out of the water for less than 48 hours.

My dad lit the grill. I picked over the mussels. We threw them on the hot grill and took them off as they were ready. My dad, my dashing husband, my son, and I proceeded to eat them one after the other as they came off the grill, happily burning our fingers on the hot shells. I insisted on grinding fresh black pepper over them as they cooked, but I’ll admit it was gilding the lily just a bit.

And my mom, who so nicely ran the mussels maze on my behalf? She doesn’t care for shellfish. Even mussels, hot of the grill.

Grilled mussels

The recipe for grilled mussels is this: put mussels on a hot grill and cook until they open up and are cooked to your liking. “Your liking” can cover anything from those who like their mussels barely cooked – still tenderly raw and soft – to those who prefer to leave them on the grill until they get almost smoked, their meat condensed and the edges almost crisp. Experiment, taste, and see what you like best. How many should you grill? That depends on how many you want to eat. About 1/2 pound per person makes a nice little snack. If they are the main event, however, you’ll want closer to 2 pounds each.

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Grill bread

Grill bread is sort of like a pretzel and sort of like bread and a lot like crack. I dare you to take just one bite. One friend of mine – who particularly relishes its salty pretzel-like quality – once begged me not to make it. She was on a reducing plan and found the siren call of the grill bread too much to resist. On her, I take pity. For the rest of you: Enjoy.

Grill Bread

Make the dough a day ahead of time, stretch it out ahead of time and cover or simply stretch it right before you plop it on the grill.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup milk

6 1/2 – 7 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Olive oil for brushing

Coarse salt for sprinkling (don’t kid yourself, this is *not* optional)

Black onion seeds (nigelia) for sprinkling, optional

Dissolve yeast in 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water. Stir in 1 cup lukewarm milk.

Stir in flour and salt until a dough forms (this is great to do in a standing mixer with a dough hook, if you have one). If doing this by hand, you may need to turn the dough out onto a counter and knead it to work in all the flour.

Lightly oil a large bowl and put the dough in it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit to let dough rise until doubled in bulk, 8 hours or overnight.

Punch down the dough and let it sit another hour.

Meanwhile, brush your cooking grate with vegetable oil. Heat your grill to medium to medium-hot. You should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the cooking grate for two minutes second or so before it just feels way too hot. Don’t worry too much about this, however. Grill bread isn’t fussy.

Divide the dough into ten pieces. Work with one piece at a time and stretch it into a disk of some sort – oblong is cool, round is fine, crazy-shaped is always popular. Lay whatever shaped dough disk you have on the hot grill. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Once all dough is on the grill, brush each disk with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black onion seeds, if you’re using them. Cook until grill marks form and the disks release easily from the grill. I’m not going to give you a time frame because I know nothing about your grill or fire-making skills or how windy and cooled off it is on your balcony where the grill is. This could take 5 minutes or 15 – but that is not a time frame to follow! Just hang with the bread a bit, when it releases easily and has grill marks, flip it. Flip each grill bread and brush the cooked side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Cook until grill marks form on the second side and grill breads are cooked through. Serve hot or at least warm.

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Grilled beets

It’s true. You can grill beets. Let me take that a step further: you should grill beets.

I learned this from my dashing husband’s college roommate. He’s a gregarious fellow who likes to eat. He likes to come to our house because I cook. I cook real food and plenty of it. He’s great to cook for simply because he’s so appreciative. A dinner of roast chicken, garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes, and a salad once elicited a wonder-filled “do you eat like this every night?!?!” from him.

During one visit to California from the chilly East a few years ago he was so excited about being here and about me cooking that he wanted to get involved in the kitchen. I had a meal planned. I am used to being the boss of our kitchen. I say “our kitchen” because I am a generous person. The kitchen at this house is mine. My kitchen.

My kitchen isn’t big. Two – even three – people can work in it (and four have done so), but those people need to be fairly aware of those around them. There has to be some communication at work. I say this with love, but this particular house guest, while a great talker and fun conversationalist, isn’t the best communicator I’ve ever met. He isn’t, in short, the very best of listeners. That made me wary about letting him help with the meal; it also made him fail to heed my initial reluctance.

Had our lend-a-hand visitor been my friend originally instead of one I inherited from my dashing husband, I might have said, “hey, let me do my thing” or forced a specific task upon him. He was *so* enthusiastic and his desire to soak up my cookin’ mojo was *so* palpable that I dug deep and found a morsel of generosity and empathy and let him peel and slice some beets and put them on the grill.

It was not what I had planned for the beets. But again, he was just *so* very extremely beyond belief excited, I felt like too much of a killjoy to stop him. Whatever, I thought, let him burn, undercook, and generally ruin the beets. Who cares.

Yes, that was my idea of generosity.

He didn’t burn them. He didn’t under cook them. He didn’t ruin them in any way. The grilled beet slices were tender on the inside, caramelized on the outside, with a nice bit of bitter char that off-set their sweetness beautifully.

Grilled beet salad

Peel beets and slice them about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Brush them with oil and place them on a medium to medium hot grill. Cover the grill (especially if it’s a gas one), flip the slices after the beets get grill marks, 8 to 10 minutes. Continue cooking on the other side until the beets are tender and grill-marked on the other side. Put abut a beet’s worth of slices on a salad plate (or put all the slices on a family-style platter), dollop some soft, creamy cheese here and there (I used ricotta here, because that’s what was in the fridge, but a creamy chèvre would have been delightful). Some toasted walnuts or thinly sliced shallots wouldn’t have been out of place, if you wanted to add them. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, toasted walnut oil, or pine nut oil. Sprinkle with salt.

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Halibut kebabs

halibutkabobs

Yep, back to the grill. I’ve made these before. Many times. I’ve used the recipe my pal Jessica developed for Sunset. Not this time. This time I didn’t have any pancetta. I did, however, have prosciutto.

A small step for me, a great leap for halibut kebabs.

The pancetta never did crisp up quite enough for my liking without sacrificing the just-done texture of the halibut. Don’t get me wrong, if you follow the recipe and actually use “paper thin” pancetta, it works great. But the pancetta I get isn’t always paper thin…. But prosciutto? Which is almost universally cut at least almost paper thin? It made a perfect crispy salty coating for the Alaskan halibut I cut into bite-size pieces, tossed with olive oil and chopped rosemary (and bread crumbs), before threading onto skewers with pieces of prosciutto interlaced between them.

I didn’t even have that much prosciutto, so I had to cut it into quite thin strips. Having larger pieces to actually wrap around each piece of fish would have been ideal. But this isn’t about the ideal, this is about dinner.

I also followed my own principal of threading the different ingredients on different skewers. I tossed everything together, and rubbed the bread cubes with the prosciutto to impart some porky goodness to it, but put the halibut and the bread crumbs on separate kebabs. Yet another giant leap for halibut kebabs. I was able to cook the fish to perfection while also toasting up the bread properly.

Everything was then un-skewered onto a warm serving platter together, mixed up a bit, and served with a plate of sliced and salted tomatoes. The people, they were happy.

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The labor of vegetable & halloumi kebabs

veggiekebobplatter

In true Labor Day tradition, the grilling never stopped. Nor did the work.

When I was a kid, Labor Day still marked the official end of summer. The Tuesday after Labor Day was the first day of school and Labor Day itself was the day we closed up the cabin for the summer. The fridge was cleaned out, the docks taken up onto land, the boats driven to the marine, and the water turned off. We wouldn’t go back up until the opening of fishing season – which always fell on Mothers Day weekend leaving moms and kids alone in the city while the fishermen headed north for putting in docks, fetching boats, and some fishing worked in between card games and generalized debauchery.

That world is long gone, which is a funny thing to say about a world I knew well when I’m still in the process of pushing forty. Cabins are mostly winterized, so the whole opening and closing for the season aspect is less clear when it happens at all. I’m sure most of the fishermen who head up north in Minnesota in mid-May are still men, but when I looked around the lake this summer when I was there it seemed that there were just as many women casting into the still waters next to fallen trees as there were men.

But I digress. I hadn’t grilled halloumi, that firm salty Greek cheese you can grill, in a long time. I made halloumi and veggie kebabs – the key being separate sticks.

veggiekebaobs

Why separate skewers? Simple: veggies, meats, shrimp, cheeses – whatever you’re grilling – probably each cook at at least slightly different times. By putting the different items on their own skewers, you can cook them each properly. But what about each person having their own skewer, you ask? I do the table and my guests the service of taking everything off the skewers first – it’s always so awkward at the table to have these giant metal swords – and putting the offerings on a platter so everyone can take what they like.

It works great. The separate skewers are especially useful should you forget to oil either the halloumi or the grilling grate. Then you can let the veggies cook properly as you grab the cheese off  the grill and artfully wield a metal spatula to salvage bits from the grill to maintain a semblance of a balanced and complete dinner.

If you spent the day digging up bushes you’ve never liked and creating piles of branches as tall as yourself from all the pruning you’ve done and transplanting unruly potted palm trees and cleaning out a storage area on the cement slab to one side of your yard and falling backwards onto the same cement slab as a wood deck chair crashes on top of you which leaves you slightly beat up and traumatized, scraping bits of burning cheese off your grill may not be super-duper fun. I’m just saying.

So brush the halloumi with olive oil, skewer it with some olives for yummy fun, and make skewers of whatever vegetables you like grilled (we did mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, and chiles – and we would have had red onion wedges and cherry tomatoes if we’d had them). I served the whole skewered, grilled, and de-skewered mess with lemon herb orzo.* Lovely lovely end-of-summer dinner.

veggieorzohalloumidinner

While the cheese or meat and the veggies all end up being more precisely and perfectly cooked (again, as long as you oil something) with the single-item-on-a-skewer method, I will admit that I miss the strategic threading that was one of my favorite ways to help with dinner at the cabin as a kid. There were often gobs of grandparents and aunts and uncles and first cousins once-removed and friends and fiances around for dinner, so kebabs were a popular dinner item. Making sure each skewer had an equal allotment of each item, and placing them for what I believed to be maximum flavor impact (onion next to meat, for example), kept me delighted for what seemed like hours. A young cook-in-the-making or an early display of some mild OCD? I’m guessing it was both.

*Lemon Herb Orzo

Bring 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth and 2 cups water to a boil. Taste it – it should be plenty salty, but if it isn’t about as salty as sea water add enough salt to make it so. Cook a 1-pound box of orzo until tender. Drain and toss warm orzo with 3 Tbsp. delicious olive oil, the zest of 1 lemon, the juice of 1 to 2 lemons (to taste), and whatever fresh herbs you have around and sound good. I’m a particular fan of adding about 1/2 cup of minced mint to the whole thing, although others may find that a bit much. About 1/4 cup minced parsley, basil, cilantro, and/or mint is a good amount to start with – you can always add more. Serve warm, at room temp, or even cold (although you may want to add both more olive oil and more lemon juice that way).

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Grilled salmon

grilledsalmondinner

Maybe you’ve read enough about salmon here lately. And yet I must tell you about this salmon. Part of the fall-out from my trip to Cordova last month is that the very kind (and marketing-savvy) folks at Copper River Fish Market sent me some of their very fine fish.* They catch it themselves and “immersion bleed” it (bleed it out in salt water to maximize bleeding and overall quality).

It was so good that Ernest asked why, exactly, it was so delicious.

I explained how the salmon came from a place that is very good for salmon, that the people who caught it took such good care of it. He looked over at me like I was a complete fool.

“I don’t think that’s why it tastes good, Mama. I think it’s because you took it off the grill at the right time.” Snap.

If that’s your point-of-view too, here you go – I grilled it using this super-simple method: I heat the grill to a medium heat (you can hold your hand about an inch over the grill grate for 3 to 4 seconds), I sprinkle the fish with salt, I brush vegetable oil on the grill grate and the fish skin, put the fish skin-down on the grill, I cover the grill, and I cook it undisturbed until the fish is done to my liking (I go by 10 minutes minimum, and figure about 10 minutes per inch if it’s thicker than an inch). If the fish has no skin or you’re worried about sticking, simply do the same thing but put the fish on a piece of tin foil with plenty of small holes poked in it. With salmon I always buy skin-on and cook it directly on the grill to crisp it up because if there is anything my dashing husband and inquisitive son love more than crispy crunchy salmon skin I don’t know what it is.

You can add marinades or rubs or whatever you dig, but did you notice that the fish does not get flipped? That, I think, is the key to happy fish grilling. And those fish-grilling baskets? I don’t have a place to put one, but when I tried them in the Sunset test kitchen I was not impressed. Sure, the fish didn’t stick to the grill, but it always made a bit of a mess in the basket itself.

So I grilled this Copper River sockeye salmon using the above method and it turned out perfectly – we all agreed (partly because I took my dashing husband’s fillet off the grill way before mine or Ernest’s because he likes his salmon pretty much not cooked). And next to it? It’s this fattoush salad minus the feta and olives. The lemony dressing and cumin seeds were fab with the plain grilled salmon.

* I’ve been hassling my writing students lately about being honest. All that talk is starting to rub off. I told someone yesterday that I was reluctant to get too involved in school lunch reform in San Francisco because I hate meetings, can’t stand listening to ill-informed people, and am terribly impatient. I then mentioned some of my better traits and things I do like and could do to help, but man it felt great to just tell the truth. Yes, I’m also busy. True, time spent on school lunch reform would likely come from the block of time I volunteer at my son’s school and I’m not sure that’s a great trade off in these budgetary challenging times. But in the end I just really don’t want to go to meetings.
In that same spirit I will state explicitly that the Cooper River Fish Market people sent me the salmon for free. It was awesome salmon. Super rich and flavorful and in perfect condition. I’d love to eat it again, but it will have to be a very special occasion because I really can’t afford to buy a lot of $25 per pound fish, especially when you add the shipping charge and factor in just how much salmon these two males I live with want to eat when it’s presented to them. But you know what? Maybe that’s where things should be heading. Maybe salmon should be a special occasion item.

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