Summer Solstice Salmon

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Happy first day of summer! Today is the longest day of the year, so get out and enjoy the sunlight! Fire up the grill, crack open a cold one, and enjoy some time with loved ones.

One of my favorite things to eat during the summer is salmon. Whether baked, grilled, smoked…I just love it. (Not to mention it’s so good for you). Now I know that cooking fish can be intimidating, but don’t worry, I’m here to give you some tips on how to cook salmon on the grill. Admittedly, I had to fail a few times before being able to grill salmon without trouble, but with practice and a little patience, I was able to find ways to grill this fish easily. The thing I love about salmon is that it’s hearty enough to stand on its own as a main dish, but also light enough to flake up and toss in a salad.

The most important part of preparing fish is making sure all the tiny pin bones are removed. Have you ever gotten a pin bone stuck in your gums, or worse? I have…it’s horrible. Always make sure to double and triple check your fish to ensure all the bones are removed. It’s tedious, but you’ll thank me later. You can buy filets that have the bones removed, but double check them anyway because pin bones are easy to miss. (If you buy frozen filets, you’ll obviously have to wait until they are completely thawed out).

We’re not going to do a whole lot to season these, so all you’re going to need is lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. This salmon can be used in a salad or just left on it’s own and served with whatever sides you’d like. Before you season the filets, make sure they are brought completely to room temperature. For one, the seasoning will stick better when the fish is at room temp and two, it’s easier to grill. With your filets skin side down on your cutting board, rub some olive oil all over them, squeeze half a lemon over top, and then season liberally with salt and black pepper. That’s all there is to it. It’s a very simple seasoning, but the grill will bring out a fantastic flavor.

So on the grill, put your salmon skin side up. Now, let the filets be until the meat releases from the grill. Once that happens, the filet is ready to flip. This is something that a lot of first time fish grillers (including myself) have trouble with. Fish can be very picky about how you cook it, and so people are afraid to let it sit in fear of it over cooking. You just have to trust the food will tell you what to do. Once it looks like the edges are starting to release, you can give the fish a few cautionary pokes around the edges to see if it’s ready to flip. If it gives you any resistance, let it go a little while longer and check again. When it’s ready, flip it over and let it cook for a couple minutes. After those few minutes are over and your salmon is opaque and flaky, take it off the grill and serve it however you’d like. I like to serve it with fresh green beans and carrots, or even fresh sweet corn. Or, you can flake it and toss it in a light summer salad. There are a million and one different ways to enjoy this beautiful fish. Happy cooking!

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