Wild caught salmon is one of my favorites for roasting, searing and grilling. And I like it in its purest form, lightly seasoned and sauced. I normally purchase more than I need as I love to have leftover salmon; eaten cold the next day, mixed into salads, topped on my bagel with a smear of cream cheese, in a Panini with brie or scrambled in eggs.
I’ve never had luck grilling salmon or any fish straight on the grill. I’m no grill master; after all I’m a chica and grills are for guys. Okay, I know there are some awesome girls at the grill, I just happen to not be one of them. However, I do enjoy grilled foods, from appetizers to desserts and so, I head outdoors and grill.
I use a grill basket for grilling fish, the basket is flipped and the fish stays in tack. Pretty simple. If you don’t have a grill basket, cooking en papillote is another method as the guys, Greg and John, have done here and here. Of course, salmon grilled wrapped in foil vs grilled directly over the flames will differ in appearance and taste….both good, just different.
I served the grilled salmon over gorgonzola and pesto polenta. I prefer polenta over mashed potatoes any time! Polenta does take time and attention to continuously stir but it’s so worth the smooth, creamy texture and rustic appeal. Instant polenta (cornmeal) is available though I purchase finely ground cornmeal in bulk for slow cooking. I find using a double boiler cuts down on the constant stirring. A copper pot is the way to go for true polenta cooking! Mixing in different types of cheese and spices vary the flavor. Leftover polenta poured into a small baking sheet firms up and can be cut into shapes and grilled or baked, but that’s for another post 🙂
Grilled Salmon and Gorgonzola Pesto Polenta
4 wild caught salmon fillets, skin removed or skin will easily fall off after grilling
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice from one lemon
2-3 tablespoons prepared pesto thinned with lemon juice
Rub salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while heating grill. Make sure grates are cleaned and rubbed with olive oil to not stick or use a grill/fish basket for easy handling and flipping. Place salmon skin side up and grill for about 2 minutes or until salmon begins to turn opaque. Flip salmon over and continue to grill another 2 minutes. Do not over cook; it should remain moist and soft in the center, slightly pink with light grill marks. Remove to plate, and top on polenta. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice and/or drizzle on pesto by thinning the pesto with some lemon juice.
Gorgonzola and Pesto Polenta
3 cups boiling water or a combination of chicken broth and water (add additional as needed)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2-3 tablespoons prepared pesto
Simmer water in the bottom pan of a double boiler. Add 3 cups boiling water to the top pan. If not using the double boiler, use a large saucepan bring the 3 cups of liquid to a boil. Add the salt and slowly whisk in the polenta, pouring the polenta like “rain” to prevent any clumping. Reduce to low and continue to cook and, switching to a wooden spoon, stir occasionally on a double boiler, more frequently in a saucepan for about 45 minutes. The polenta should be soft and creamy, pulling away from the bottom. If the polenta appears to cook too fast or less creamy, add in small amounts of hot water or broth. When done, stir in the gorgonzola cheese and pesto. Plate immediately and serve.