The dog days of summer are here, folks. And while this would be delicious with some dog (chum) salmon on top, a fillet of chinook makes this a salad fit for a king.
This weekend I got to meet up with a friend and fisherman from Alaska, who gifted me with some frozen wild salmon fillets. You take them frozen out of the package, put a little oil on the skin side and grill low and covered. When it’s close to done, drizzle oil on the top and flip it over for grill marks if you dare.
For this recipe, I used king salmon, sold fresh at my local fish market, but cooked about the same way, only a slightly higher heat.
King or chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is the largest of the five Pacific salmon species — king, silver, sockeye, chum and pink. The adult king is typically about 24 to 36 inches long and 10 to 50 pounds. But they can get as large as 58 inches and 130 pounds.
Most adult kings spend three to four years in the ocean before returning to their home river to spawn. As they prepare to spawn, they silvery blue hue darkens and is accented with a bright flash of red from the tail forward. Salmon fry remain in fresh water for up to 18 months before moving downstream to an estuary as smolts, where they stay for a few months before making their ocean migration.
According to John McManus at the Golden Gate Salmon Association, California’s king season reopened on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Here’s hoping the fleet out there gets enough of a return to keep the country in king salmon for the rest of the summer.
20 ounces salmon fillets
2 heads of romaine lettuce (or 4 hearts of romaine)
1 loaf of focaccia bread
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, quartered
Caesar dressing (recipe to follow)
Heat your grill to medium-high. Thoroughly wash and dry the lettuce, then chop roughly into 1-inch ribbons and put in a large mixing bowl and keep cool.
Cut the bottom crust off of the focaccia and chop the rest into 1-inch cubes. Melt the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, turn heat down low. Add the bread and toss occasionally until it is well toasted but not too dry. Set aside.
Rub the skin side of the salmon fillets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place skin side down on the grill. Cover and cook until almost done (about 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets).
Toss the lettuce with dressing, then toss in the parmesan and croutons. Plate each portion with the salmon on top. Add a drizzle of dressing to the top of the fish, salt and fresh pepper to taste. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a nasturtium flower, which is edible and has a peppery flavor.
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 anchovy fillets or 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about the juice of one lemon)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon or grainy mustard
1 egg yolk (or substitute 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise)
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender until creamy.