Getting chill with the grill 2: Simple grilled salmon with mustard and herbs


You may possibly have noticed, since stating the claim that I would boldly face what I've privately been seeing as The Grill Monster for years, I've only come up with one easy grilling related post. I'm well aware of this, and a little chagrined, too. This is not to say, however, that I haven't been getting better acquainted with the grill. It's just that I've finally figured out that the little black cauldron-table squatting on the deck is not in fact a Grill Monster at all. It's actually a really helpful, efficient outdoor oven. Why didn't I realize this before?

So grilling is easy, after all. At least, it is as long as you have a friendly, accessible grill of the push-button-go kind. If I had to truly work with fire, I'd be singing a different tune. I can't even light a match. When I think matches, I have flashbacks to those really cheap, paper matchbooks you have to strike by nearly pinching the coated head. Not that I ever had the courage to touch one. I just remember my Mom  rushing to the sink with out fail, dropping them and flicking her singed fingers as cold water poured over them. I guess my ensuing fear of fire extended to a fear of grilling, but that's beside the point.

The real point is, though it requires some planning, care and tending, grilling can be easy even for me, and that's saying a lot. Especially if you take on a beautiful, rustic meal like this salmon, which I took from Eating Well.  It's the epitome of simple real food. No-nonsense, yet gorgeous and delectable, and so exquisitely aromatic. The fish cooks over herbs and sliced lemons, filling with subtle yet distinct flavor and retaining just the right amount of moisture. I cooked it in a foil pan, just because that was even easier than sliding heavy duty foil off a baking tray, and it was lovely. We had if over vegetable cous cous. I would bet it's really easy to transform, too, but then again, part of the beauty of  food like this is you don't need any tricks.

This recipe is so simple, I was hesitant to even post it, lest it be one of those tasks merely for the check list, sort of like junk miles. But on the other hand, we can use reminders of fresh and simple options surprisingly often. It's as if we're hard-wired to make life more difficult than it needs to be, sometimes.

Speaking of, I have added a new non-cooking task to the Me and the Grill to-do list. This one's the real monster--getting the thing cleaned. Stay tuned.


Grilled salmon with mustard and herb

  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced, plus 1 lemon cut into wedges for garnish
  • 20-30 sprigs mixed fresh herbs, plus 2 tablespoons chopped, divided (I used a poultry herb blend pack, on sale)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound center-cut salmon, skinned
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Lay two 9-inch pieces of heavy-duty foil on top of each other and place on a rimless baking sheet. Arrange lemon slices in two layers in the center of the foil. Spread herb sprigs over the lemons. Place garlic in a small dish and stir in mustard and the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped herbs. Rub a little salt and pepper on salmon to taste and spread the mixture over both sides of the salmon. Place the salmon on the herb sprigs.
  3. Slide the foil and salmon off the baking sheet onto the grill without disturbing the salmon-lemon stack. Cover the grill; cook until the salmon is opaque in the center, 18 to 24 minutes. Wearing oven mitts, carefully transfer foil and salmon back onto the baking sheet. Cut the salmon into 4 portions and serve with lemon wedges (discard herb sprigs and lemon slices).