The trickiest part about grilling salmon is preventing it from sticking, especially if you happen to like crispy, delicious skin that stays on the fillet instead of gluing itself to the grill. But you can make perfect grilled salmon if you keep a few key points in mind:
• Use both direct and indirect heat.
• Cook on perforated, oiled foil briefly set on the grill to preheat.
• Use narrow, center-cut fillets, which, because they have less skin, are less likely to stick.
• Get the fillets good and sizzling (like a steak hitting a hot frying pan) on the foil before you shift them to indirect heat.
You don’t need special tools, but an offset cake spatula ― thin but sturdy ― will slide neatly between the salmon and the foil.
Straight-up grilled salmon, with that crisp skin, a little lemon, and a sprinkling of salt, is great on its own, but we’ve given you a few easy twists on the technique to keep things interesting.
Wine for salmon, Grenache tips the scales
Wild Alaska salmon is hitting the market and according to Lisa Rongren, wine director for Seattle’s legendary Ray’s Boathouse, it’s the best fish of all to pair with red wine. Pinot Noir is a natural, but she also likes Sangiovese ― lively and full of ripe cherries, like Yellow Hawk Cellar’s version from Walla Walla in eastern Washington.
Her go-to grape, though, is Grenache. With a bit of pepper and spice, it’s perfect with smoky grilled salmon, and blended with other Rhône grapes in Syncline’s “Subduction Red” (Columbia Valley), it works magic. -Sara Schneider