Summer Grilling Time!

July 26, 2013

Rose 4

I hope everyone is having a great summer!  By now, I'm sure many of you are celebrating the season by firing up your grill...or at least enjoying the delites of someone else's efforts.  We barbeque at almost all our events, regardless of the season.  Unless it's raining, it seems that everyone loves to be around the grill.  Recently, I did an event where we grilled salmon.  I had not done that in a while and I have to say, it was not my finest effort.  My daughter Sarah is allergic to fish and my boys just don't like it, so I rarely cook fish in my leisure time.  On top of that, salmon had not been on our menu for a while.  It came to my attention that I needed to do some brushing up on the technique.  I did some reading, and some practicing, and put it all together for you in this month's newsletter.  I hope its helpful.  I know I'm better for it. :)

So grilling is the topic this month, and more specifically, grilling salmon.  Included is a great recipe from our Spring-Summer Menu, some new and some trusted BBQ tips, and a little lesson on the anatomy of salmon. Read on and don't forget to become an LAFW Facebook Fan. Click Here to get daily updates on the happenings in our kitchen. 

Happy summer everyone and I hope I get to grill with you soon! 


Grilled Salmon with Blueberry Pan Sauce

We have been doing this recipe with both salmon and pork tenderloin this season and it's so delcious!  What doesn't say summer better than barbequing and fresh fruit.  This Blueberry Pan Sauce marries the two together in such a unique and vibrant way.  I make the sauce in a skillet right on the grill while I'm prepping the meat or fish.  The shallots are cooked down until they are sweet and caramelized. Next, the blueberries and some liquid are added along with some thyme and allspice.  Then to brighten the flavor up, we add some balsamic vinegar at the end to give the sauce a little kiss of acidity.  It's so perfect.  Because the sauce is cooked separately from the meat, even vegetarians can enjoy it mixed in with rice or on top of grilled tofu steaks!  Featured on our Spring-Summer Menu, with colorful and tastey side dishes, this dish has been a hit all summer long! If you'd like the recipes that go with it, drop me an email and I'll send them right over.

1 1/2    
pounds fresh salmon fillet or salmon steaks
2 tablespoons of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 cups cold water
tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fish
large shallots, minced 
clove garlic, minced
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 water

Grilled Salmon with Blueberry Sauce






In a large pot or bowl, mix together water, salt, and sugar until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the fish and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 to brine.

Remove meat from brine, pat dry, cover, and let meat come to room temperature for more even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Rinse salmon with cold water and pat dry. Rub with a little olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, reduce heat and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Add garlic, salt, thyme, and allspice. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add blueberries, water, and vinegar. Stir to blend. Bring to a boil, stir again, then reduce heat and simmer. Once berries have softened a bit, mash them with potato masher or back of fork and cook until sauce thickens, stirring often. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat.

While sauce is reducing, heat grill to medium high.  Clean the grill grates thouroughly and prep with olive oil.  Place fish, skin side down to start.  Reduce heat to medium and grill on for 3-4 minutes.  Flip and grill for 3 minutes more.  Transfer to a platter and let rest a couple of minutes. 

To served, plate fillets on individual plates or plater and spoon some sauce over.

Per Serving: 385 Calories; 9g Fat (29.9% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 111mg Cholesterol; 3411mg Sodium.

Adapted from a recipe published in Bon Appetit, August 2010

Preping your Grill

onion on bbqThere are grilled dishes on the menu every season here at LAFW and clients are always asking for grilling tips.  I have found that regardless of how well you prep your food, if you don't prep your grill, there's a good chance it could all be ruined.  So I put together a list of things to do when barbequeing. 
1.)  Preheat your preheat your oven, do the same with your grill! 
2.)  Clean your grates after they are heated up by scrapping them off with a wire brush.  You wouldn't want to cook in a gunked up pan, so make sure your grill grates aren't gunky and crusty either.
3.)  Season your grates with oil to create a non-stick surface.  I like to use an onion, cut in half like the one shown to the here, and soaked in some oil.  Stab it with a long fork, then rub it on your grill back and forth a few times. The fire may flare up, but it's way better than using paper towels (which I never understood because of the whole "paper is flamable" thing).  Also, the onion will begin to break down and wrap around the grates to season even more surface area. 
4.)  After you've got your grill nice and hot and seasoned, turn down the flame.  You can always cook something a little more, but you can never uncook something.  So be conservative with how much time you grill.  Your food will also have some carry over cooking when you take it off the heat.  Which leads to the last tip. 
5.)  Let food rest.  Meat and poultry should have about 10 minutes to rest, fish about 5 minutes.  Don't cut into it right away or all the delicious juices will run all over the cutting board.  If after the rest, the meat is still not cooked enough, throw it back on the bbq, at a lower temp than orginially grilled, and cook it some more until you reach your desired doneness.

What's That White Stuff?

Salmon and AlbuminThe answer is it's a film of protein called albumin. When the muscle fibers in the fish are heated, they contract, pushing the albumin to the surface of the flesh. Once this protein reaches temperatures between 140 and 150 degrees, it congeals and turns white. Not only does the white albumin detract from the salmon’s appearance, but its formation indicates a loss of moisture in the fish and over-cooking, however, it's totally fine to eat.  There is nothing harmful about it.

Cook's Illustrated suggests brining fish to reduce the unsightly white layer of albumin.  Just 10 minutes is enough to minimize the effect because the salt partially dissolves the muscle fibers near the surface of the flesh, so that when cooked they don't contract and squeez out albumin. They tested the method on white fish (including cod and haddock) as well as on fattier salmon and saw a dramatic improvement in both. The brief soak also seasoned the fish’s exterior, making it unnecessary to salt it before cooking.

Source, Cook's Illustrated, February, 2011

WANT TO USE THESE TIPS AND RECIPES IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you do not alter the information in any way and include a credit that reads "by Rose LeBoeuf,, Interactive Cooking Classes, Parties, and Corporate Team Building Events for Groups Looking for a Fun and Unique Dinning Experience." 

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