A salmon’s cry for help

We’ve been having a LOT of company over lately, which naturally means we’ve been cooking a lot. When I say we, that usually means my mom has been cooking, but for one of the meals this weekend, I came through with some help.

My mom chose the menu of salmon and grilled/roasted vegetables, served with some rice casserole. Now, I know I said I had my official goodbye to summer, but it appears the good weather has been sticking around a bit longer this year (with the exception of today…now it’s gloomy and chilly, go figure), which made for some more grilling action.

She started off with these beauties: some zucchini, asparagus, and peppers in shades of red, orange, and yellow. We also grilled up some butternut squash and mushrooms that aren’t quite pictured here. All they took was a tad bit of seasoning and the heat of the grill to turn into the most delicious side dish on Earth.

But the salmon (my doing) was another story. My mom was tired around the point we had to cook the salmon so she decided to leave it up to me. Well that’s just great, I have never cooked salmon before so a lack of supervision made me very nervous. She did however leave me with some beautiful-looking salmon (seen above) and I guess that’s the half of it. The crazier thing was that for the past couple years, I’ve sort of hated salmon so the fact that I was marinating and cooking it for everyone was somewhat ironic.

Long before I knew I was cooking, my mom decided we’d grill the fish on cedar planks, so they were soaking away outside like so (excuse the background, we had to put it outside so it wouldn’t leak):

I decided to soak the fish in lemon juice and dill because on the occasions that I do enjoy salmon, that’s how they’ve been prepared. I didn’t really measure. I just sort of squirted the juice and shook on the dill by sight. I let them sit for a half hour and then put them on the grill like so:

The smell that the cedar planks gave off was so enjoyable that it made me sad I didn’t do this every day of summer ( if you can grill something with cedar planks, do it just so you can smell the beauty). I couldn’t wait to taste the flavor that would seep into the salmon.

But, all that wondrousness aside, my salmon seemed to flare up with fat as soon as it hit the grill. When I first put the salmon on, I sort of missed one of the planks, and some foamy white stuff started to form on the hot grill. I wasn’t sure if it was a reaction to the sugar in the lemon juice I was using (I used a combination of bottled and fresh which may have been a mistake) or the fat.

Eventually the foam all went away though and we had some pretty good looking salmon that took in rave reviews from our guests. But then I actually tasted it and thought it tasted kind of fatty! I’m sure our guests were just being nice because I wasn’t so pleased. I’ve had way better, and the lemon flavor didn’t seem to seep through enough!

So, readers, please help. What did I do wrong?

-Hillary, wondering if she should have tried this recipe for Baked Dill Salmon
Editor, Recipe4Living

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  • http://www.foodandfitness.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ zoe

    I have NEVER heard of grilling on cedar planks before, although I did watch a Jamie Oliver video clip the other day about smoking salmon in a biscuit tin on your stove top! Both sound like somethign I might try.

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    Zoe, you should definitely try out the cedar planks! Let me know how it goes for you!

  • JEP

    I’ve just eaten my first of the season butternut sqush (all time favorite). I had never thought of grilling but sure will try—love the caramelization!

  • http://www.recipe4living.com Hillary

    Butternut squash is amazing! I saw a great recipe that uses butternut squash on Orangette’s blog. But you should really try it grilled too!

  • http://www.revolutionhealth.com/groups/healthy-eating/ ASUClifford

    My thought would be that the cedar and lemon flavors were competing too much. if you didn’t marinate overnight in the lemon, I doubt the lemon flavor stuck. Sometimes when using lemon juice with salmon, it is better to wait until the very end and then provide the juice fresh-squeezed.

    As for the fat content, I try to stay away from farm-raised salmon as it is normally is not as good as fresh salmon (and the price is almost triple!) Your guests could have very well liked your dish – I always can find something wrong with my cooking while other people enjoy it immensely!

  • http://sunday-night-dinner.blogspot.com Anna

    I agree with ASUClifford. I am a nervous cook and always think that everything is turning out terribly. But it doesn’t. People are often much more critical of themselves than anyone else is. I am sure the salmon was fantastic – lemon, dill, and cedar smoke? Sounds wonderful to me.

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