Salmon 101: Reach for Frozen and Fire Up the Grill Pan

Grilled Salmon and Kale Risotto

Do you want to eat more fish but you hesitate to give it a shot?  Do you tend to feature more seafood on your menus during the summer months when it can be quickly grilled outside?

Well, understandably, seafood, salmon in particular, lends itself to warm weather dining. During the summer, salmon is literally landing on our Pacific Northwest shores fresh and practically still flapping…that being said, a hefty chunk of the salmon that hails from Northwest waters is processed and frozen for the off season.

Over the years, I’ve cooked a lot of frozen salmon and without a doubt those frozen fillets offer convenience beyond compare. Easily found in the frozen food cases in the seafood department and sold pin boned, portioned and packaged, they can simply be pulled from the freezer on short notice and defrosted in a flash by submerging the package in cool water.

One of my favorite ways to cook these convenient fillets is to grill them INDOORS on my Le Creuset ridged grill pan. I inherited my small red ridged pan from my father and it’s a great pan for quick one person seafood dishes. After preheating my grill pan over moderately high heat and simply sprinkling my salmon with a little sea salt and spraying it (and the pan) with oil, I plop my defrosted salmon fillet on the ridges and savor that initial sizzle. I let the fillet, which is probably about 5 to six ounces, sear for about a minute or two. I then flip it and let the other side sizzle and sear. (I sometimes cook it with the skin on and other times I take the skin off prior to cooking.) After about a minute or two on the other side, I cover the fillet, turn down the heat to moderately low and let the fillet cook for another minute, checking for doneness.

This super quick grilled salmon is then ready to be served on top of rice, potatoes, grains or even a lightly dressed salad or a medley of sliced tomatoes. Alternatively, it can be turned into a simple sandwich or even a decadent Salmon BLT.

Note:  And, if you are Caesar Salad fan, try my recipe for Blackened Sockeye on Kale Caesar Salad, which I developed for the Bristol Bay Sockeye website last spring. For additional information on frozen, check out this section too.

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