Salmon can be so simple and easy to cook, but for those that are unfamiliar it can seem daunting. Have you ever heard of the acronym KISS? It stands for “Keep it simple, stupid” and totally applies when it comes to preparing seafood. When cooking fish, often times simple flavors like lemon or basic spices and easy cooking techniques are better. Not only is this easy method best for creating a delicious meal, but also for keeping things easy for yourself. Also, if you start with high-quality fish, you are halfway to a delicious dinner already!
We checked in with Gena Knox of Fire & Flavor for her tried and true salmon tips. As a southern cook, Gena founded her company with her husband by making cedar planks that are perfect for cooking all types of meats, seafood, and vegetables on the grill or in an oven.
1. Don’t overcook your salmon
This may seem obvious, but even the most talented home cooks have a tendency to overcook salmon and create a dry and flavorless dish. Be especially careful with wild salmon. It is best served medium or medium-rare and you will know you are at this temperature when it flakes apart, but is no longer translucent. Just remember that the fish will keep cooking after you remove it from the heat.
2. Finish salmon with fresh lemon or lime juice
By adding a quick squeeze of citrus to the cooked fish, you will bring all the flavors together and add a brightness that our tastebuds crave.
3. Try plank grilling
Plank grilling is my favorite cooking method, but if you are grilling directly on the grill – start with the flesh side down and then finish with skin side down – flipping only once. The biggest mistake people make when plank grilling is heating their grill too hot. If you have a gas grill – medium-low or 350°F is ideal. Charcoal grills are a little harder to control the temperature so we just build the fire on one side then you can always move the plank to the cooler (indirect) side if the plank gets too hot.
4. Always cook more than you need
There are a thousand ways to use leftover wild salmon…stirred into eggs for breakfast to topped on your salad for lunch the next day or made into a delicious cold sandwich. Make extra and your packed lunch routine will be even easier in the morning!
5. Salmon and wine
Gena loves wine and while there are so many fun cocktails to be had, she finds herself going back to wine as her favorite salmon pairing. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris bottles from the Willamette Valley in Oregon are really hard to beat with a well-cooked fish.
Gena has enjoyed cooking cedar planked salmon this summer and serving it fresh fruit salsas – peaches, watermelons, tomatoes… whatever you have an abundance of. See the recipe below!
For more salmon recipes and rubs and tips on plank grilling, click here.
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 cup diced watermelon
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ small Serrano pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
- 1½ teaspoons Fire & Flavor’s Salmon Rub
- 1 large cedar plank, soaked
- First Preheat grill to medium-low heat, about 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine mango, watermelon, lime juice, Serrano, and fresh mint; set aside or refrigerate.
- NEXT Sprinkle salmon with Salmon Rub and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place soaked plank on grill, close lid, and heat for 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip plank and place salmon on hot side of plank. Close lid and cook for 10-15 minutes until done to your liking, depending on thickness of fish.
- LAST Remove plank and salmon from grill (remember salmon will continue cooking after you remove it from grill). Serve immediately with fruit salsa.