Rubbed Grilled Salmon
Once salmon season has finally arrived, this is one of our very favorite ways of enjoying it! It’s anything but ordinary, it’s easy, it’s memorable and it’s positively delicious. It all starts with the rub, a collection of whole spices dry-roasted, then ground. I know the list of ingredients may give the appearance of complicated and time-consuming – but the rub will take you about 15 minutes to prepare, and likely last you all summer and maybe months beyond. The rest of the dish is a snap! You like salmon? You will love this! (You might want to keep the recipe handy – you’ll likely be getting plenty of requests for it.)
In a heavy hot skillet, toast the following ingredients for approximately 4 minutes. You want them to brown slightly and begin to release their aromas. But stop short of smoking!
- 3 Tbl. coriander seeds
- 3 Tbl. mustard seeds
- 3 Tbl. cumin seeds
- 3 Tbl. dry dill seeds
- 6 Tbl. fennel seeds
Remove the seeds from the hot pan and allow to cool slightly. Grind in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. My preference is to have a few whole seeds remaining, but you can grind them as finely as you like. Then add:
- 6 Tbl. sugar
- 3 Tbl. kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 1-1/2 tsp. finely ground pepper
Mix well. Stored in an air-tight jar, it will keep for months.
- Enough salmon fillets to feed your crowd – steelhead fillets are a good substitute
Sprinkle a generous amount of spice rub over the flesh of the salmon and then pat it in place. If you’re going to be using an oven, preheat it to 400°F. If using an outdoor gas grill, bring it up to the same temperature.
Heat a heavy frying pan (cast iron is great) over a medium-high burner. Drizzle a small amount of vegetable oil into the pan and swirl to coat. Place the fish, flesh-side down into the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Flip the fish over and place it into your preheated oven or grill to finish. Depending on the thickness of your fish, this may take another 5 to 7 minutes longer. It will be firm to the touch and will flake apart with a fork. It will smell amazing.
This is wonderful accompanied by grilled corn on the cob, or black beans squirted with fresh lime, and a bright green salad. Or fresh green beans or sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil. It’s goes well with all the good things of summer!