in the Pacific Northwest, and this freshly made aioli dresses up this healthy fish to the nines!
First, about purchasing the salmon. My favorite is Silver or King salmon, and in these varieties you will look for a thick, firm meat that is very deep pink to red in color. Pale fillets or those whose meat appears “crumbly” are not as fresh and should be avoided. Go ahead and purchase large fillets representing halved fish, as they are easy to cut into portion sizes.
On to the grill! You will want to grill these salmon fillets on a fairly hot grill, so if you are using briquettes be sure to start them well in advance of when you plan to actually put the fish on. If the grill is not hot enough, the skin of the fish will stick, making it difficult to turn and remove. Here we go!
1 fresh garlic clove, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
2 large egg yolks
½ cup virgin olive oil
Juice from one lemon
3 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (1 Tablespoon dried basil may be used, if preferred)
Using a metal whisk, whip the egg yolks until they begin to thicken. While whisking the thickened yolks, *You can use an electric mixer on low to medium speed if you prefer to not do the whisking by hand.
slowly drizzle the olive oil into the yolks. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and basil. Whip until the aioli becomes thick and creamy in texture.
Using a very sharp knife, cut your salmon fillets into desired portion sizes. Lightly brush the skin side with
olive oil, then lay the salmon on the grill skin side down. Brush the top of the fillets with a generous amount of the aioli. Close the lid of the barbecue and let the fillets cook for 4 to 5 minutes. *You do not want the salmon to over-cook, so check it at 5 minutes.
Flip the fillets over and close the lid for about 2 minutes. The fillets are done when the meat appears flaky throughout. If it loosens easily from the grill, it is ready to flip. If it sticks to the grill at all, leave it on to cook for another minute. Remember, do not overcook!
- Serve with a crusty French bread to balance the texture of the fish.
- A great side dish of chunks of fresh tomatoes tossed with some chopped fresh basil, olive oil, and sea salt pairs very well with this salmon dish.
- Fresh asparagus spears can be prepared right next to the salmon on the grill, brushed with a little butter or olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Salmon tastes great when smoked with hickory, so feel free to add a handful of soaked damp hickory chips to your hot charcoal before laying the salmon on the grill.
- Any leftover salmon will keep nicely in the refrigerator, so add it to salads or sandwiches the next day...that is, IF you have any left over!