A side of Copper River Sockeye Salmon on a cedar plank with lemon slices and seasoned waiting for the grill to be warmed up.
We were back in Seattle this past week to celebrate our 10th Anniversary though we enjoyed a lot of local seafood, I didn’t do much cooking so this weeks post will be pretty brief. One of the many things Seattle is known for is seafood (and rain and yes it really does rain there a lot. Just not so much in the summer) and specifically, amazing salmon. There are several species native to the rivers of the PNW and Alaska and this time of year, its easy to come by (if you’re in the PNW) and economical because it is in season. Elsewhere frozen may be the way to go. Sprouts carries some nice options for wild ethically caught frozen fish. I was able to pick up a side of fresh, wild caught Alaskan salmon from my local Von’s/Pavilions for about $18 per lbs. a few days ago.
You can use gas, charcoal or electric grill for this and cedar planks are available in the grilling section of hardware stores or online. Just soak the planks in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Preheat you grill if using gas or electric, or get you coals to white hot. If using charcoal, move the coals to one side of the grill or gas/electric turn off one set of burners to create an indirect heat zone. Remove excess water from the cedar plank, and line with slices of lemons. Lay the salmon onto the lemon slices and remove pin bones. You can also ask your fish monger to do this for you. Lightly dust with the spice rub. Place the cedar plank on the indirect zone on the grill and cook until the fish turns a light opaque pink, this will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. Enjoy!
3 parts brown sugar
1 part ground black pepper
1 part garlic powder
1 part ground mustard seeds
½ part cayenne pepper (optional)
1 part salt
1 part ground paprika
Mix everything in a large bowl until combined. I like to place mine in an old spice shaker. It makes for easier application and reduces cross contamination.
Marinated lamb chops with grilled onions, zucchini and orange bell peppers
I mentioned a few posts back that its been fairly hot here. Now I know that’s relative, here along the coast, it doesn’t get into the high 80s or 90s very often and we usually can count on an ocean breeze to keep it cool, so the fact we don’t have central A/C isn’t usually an issue.
Our kitchen gets crazy ridiculous hot when the temperature gets above 85 and. It does not make for a hospitable cooking environment. I try to combat this by doing my prep early in the day, when its still cool. Then do my cooking on the grill.
When its hot like this I crave lighter fare and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. I found some lamb chops on sale the other day so I’m going to grill those up along with some leg of lamb, zucchini, onions and peppers. We’ll have the lamb chops this evening. I think of lamb chops as special occasion kinda food. We’re celebrating our 9th Wedding Anniversary so seems like a perfect excuse. The leg of lamb and veggies we’ll eat with a salad of romaine lettuce, red onion, pepperoncini, feta and olives through the week.
The lamb is marinaded with a combination of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, fresh mint, parsley and basil and dried oregano, dried sage and salt and pepper. I use the food processor to grind up the herbs, garlic, spices and salt and pepper.
herbs, spices, lemon juice and garlic waiting for a spin in the food processor.
Then I mix that with the yogurt and olive oil.The yogurt helps to tenderize the lamb and helps the marinade to stay on the meat even during grilling.
Yogurt and olive oil added to the ground up herbs and spices
Then I place the lamb chops into a zip top freezer bag along with about 2 TBS of marinade.
place about 2TBS of yogurt mixture into a zip top bag and add the lamb chops. Massage the lamb chops so that they are completely coated with the marinade.
You can marinade the meat over night or for as little as 2 hours. Just let it chill in the refrigerator.
Butterflied de-boned leg of lamb with marinade applied.
The same applies for the boneless butterflied leg of lamb. I buy mine already de-boned and butterflied. They’re easy to find Easter through Summer, this one came from my local Sprouts. 3-5lbs leg of lamb can easily feed 8 people. I removed the mesh pouch that its packed with, opened it up and made a few more cuts to make sure the lamb was a uniform thickness. Then coated it with about 3 or 4 TBS of the marinade, placed into a 2 gallon zip top bag and let it chill in the fridge along side the lamb chops. An hour before I start the grill I’ll take the lamb out of the fridge and let the temperature come up. I grill over direct heat turning once after about10 minutes. Then cook for another 10 minutes for medium rare.
Once I pull the leg of lamb off the grill I’ll let it rest for 10-15 minutes. While the leg of lamb rests, I’ll grill the lamb chops. They take about 3-5 minutes per side.
3 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp crushed dried oregano
1 tsp rubbed sage
salt and pepper
4 TBS each of torn fresh Mint, Parsley, and Basil leaves
1 TBS fresh rosemary leaves
zest of 1 lemon
4 TBS yogurt
2 TBS olive oil
Place, lemon juice and zest, garlic, herbs and salt and pepper into a food processor bowl and pulse until a paste forms. Scrap into a clean bowl and add yogurt and olive oil and mix until well combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
This same marinade also works well for chicken. We made Chicken Kabobs when my in-laws were in town a few weeks back. The chicken thighs stayed moist and were well seasoned even though they were marinaded for only an hour. You can also take this same butterflied and de-boned leg of lamb, and cut it into 1 inch cubes for Lamb Kabobs.
And here is the finished roast after grilling and resting.
Grilled leg of lamb sliced and ready for some pita
And here’s the lamb on pita with tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, Yogurt Dill Sauce and grilled onions.
lamb on pita with tomatoes, lettuce, dill sauce and pickles.
Summer is finally here and we’re taking advantage of having access to a charcoal grill. We’re also taking advantage of the vegetables and herbs that we planted earleir in the Spring. Our tomatoes are nice and ripen and the yellow bell peppers are finally changing from green to yellow.
We’ve been conducting a bit of an experiment this week trying to eat seafood as our primary protein. Last night we had Shrimp cocktail with home-made cocktail sauce. Earlier in the week, we had seared swordfish with zucchini noodles, feta, herbs and frsh corn. Tonight we opted for cedar-planked Chipotle Lime Salmon. Cooking fish on a cedar plank, is an easy way to keep fish moist while grilling. The planks need to be soaked in water for at least an hour before using. So a little bit of planning and preparation is needed.
Perhaps, its because I’m a food nerd through and through, but I really enjoy checkimg out what vegetables and herbs are ready to harvest, This morning’s survey yielded a handful of cherry tomatoes a yellow bell pepper and cayenne pepper. I augmented the haul with fresh corn, zucchini, onion, a Hungarian wax pepper and a poblano. I julienned all the veggies earlier in the morning and marinaded them with salt, pepper, lime juice, olive oil, and chipotle chili powder. If you don’t have chipotle chili powder, you can use a small piece of canned chipotle and use the remainder for the salmon marinade.
Marinade the salmon fillets for a couple of hours, then place on the cedar planks on a medium hot grill. You should be able to hold your hand over the grill for about 5 seconds, if any less, then the grill is too hot. Depending on thickness of your filets, the salmon should cook in 12-15 minutes.
Blend all together in a food processor or blender you can add which ever herbs you like. Cilantro and oregano go nicely with the chili and lime. Pour the mixture into a zip top bag and place the salmon in the back skin side up. We set some of the marinade aside, and used that to dress the greens we had with our salmon.