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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the Week: Rob's Salmon and Ronnie's Lingcod

Aug 10, 2012

These recipes feature the best of British Columbia's seafood bounty and showcase a couple of great grilling techniques.

Both recipes are from my cookbook, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, now available as an iBook from the iTunes Store.

Wild BC Salmon with Homemade Tartar Sauce and Tomato Salad

Makes 4 servings

Rob Clarke, Executive Chef of C Restaurant, Nu Restaurant, and Raincity Grill is the best seafood chef in Vancouver, and that’s saying something. This is his recipe, adapted for the grill. It’s a sophisticated version of a salmon grilling technique I learned many years ago that’s as easy as pie and as delicious as it gets. The concept is to slather a side of salmon with mayo, put it on a hot grill, skin side down, and cook it until the salmon is done and the mayo has sort of set, like a savory pudding, on the fish. Pair this salmon with some BC Pinot Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.

For the tartar sauce:
1 cup | 250 mL mayonnaise
2 tsp | 10 mL dried dill
3 Tbsp | 45 mL finely chopped cornichons (gherkins)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped stuffed green olives
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped shallots 
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped capers
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp | 30 mL lemon juice
1 Tbsp | 15 mL Dijon mustard 15 mL

For the salmon:
four 6 oz | 175 g  boneless wild BC salmon fillets (skin on) (Rob prefers pink salmon but coho or sockeye also work well)
sea salt

For the tomato salad:
2 Tbsp | 30 mL extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp | 10 mL rice wine vinegar
1 tsp | 5 mL Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely minced shallot
1/8 tsp | .5 mL cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 medium fresh heirloom tomatoes (yellow ones work nicely)

            Prepare the tartar sauce by combining the mayonnaise, dill, cornichons, olives, shallots, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and mustard until well blended. Set the mixture aside.
            Prepare the tomato salad by whisking together all the ingredients except the tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch | 6 mm rounds. Gently toss the tomato slices in the vinaigrette and divide the salad between 4 serving plates.
            Season the salmon fillets with salt and let them sit for 10 minutes.
            Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Place the salmon fillets, skin-side-down, on the cooking grate and slather each of them with 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of the tartar sauce. Cover the grill and cook the salmon for 5–7 minutes, until the fillets reach an internal temperature of 135°F | 57°C.
            To serve the salmon, place the fillets on the plates beside the tomato salad and finish the dish with a dollop of the remaining tartar sauce.

Lingcod in Foil with Fennel and Apple Salsa

Makes 4–6 servings

The lingcod is a long, greenish blue bottom fish with a big, ugly face and a giant mouth that can take an octopus in one bite. It also has incredibly succulent, delicate, bluish white flesh that’s so tender it falls apart if you try to grill it, but is just great cooked in foil.

1 fennel bulb, stalk and fronds attached
1 navel orange
3 Tbsp | 45 mL orange-infused extra virgin olive oil (or regular if you can’t find the orange-infused kind)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL white balsamic vinegar
½ tsp | 2 mL Dijon mustard
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Granny Smith apples
1 medium yellow onion
2 oz | 60 g butter
granulated garlic
1 ½ lb | 750 g boneless ling cod fillet (halibut would also work)
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 oz | 30 mL Pernod liqueur
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

            Trim the fronds from the fennel, discarding the woody stems.  Finely chop the fennel fronds and set them aside.
            Halve the orange and set one half aside. Combine the 3 Tbsp | 45 mL of olive oil, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl along with the juice of half the orange and 1 tsp | 5 mL of the chopped fennel fronds. Whisk the ingredients together and add salt and pepper to taste. Set the vinaigrette aside.
            Cut the fennel bulb in half, from top to bottom. Cut one half of the fennel bulb into very thin slices using a mandoline or a very sharp chef’s knife. Set the sliced fennel aside.
            Chop the other half of the fennel bulb into a ¼ inch | 6 mm dice and place it in the mixing bowl containing the vinaigrette.
            Peel and core the apples and chop them into a ¼ inch | 6 mm dice. Transfer them to the bowl with the vinaigrette and diced fennel and toss them together. Set the salsa aside.
            Trim and peel the onion and then cut it into the same kind of thin slices as the fennel using the mandoline. Set the sliced onion aside.
            Fold a 4 foot | 120 cm strip of wide, heavy-duty aluminium foil in half and lay it down on your counter. Coat the foil with a thin layer of the butter, leaving a 4 inch | 10 cm margin around the rectangle of foil. Lay down the sliced onion on the foil and sprinkle the onion slices with a little salt. Season both sides of the lingcod fillet with a very light sprinkle of salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Lay it on top of the onions, and then lay the shaved fennel slices on top of the fish. Drizzle the fish with the Pernod and some olive oil. Sprinkle a teaspoon of the chopped fennel fronds and a pinch of salt over the shaved fennel. Tightly seal the foil around the ingredients.

Note: Because fennel bulbs and onions come in different sizes, it’s hard to estimate exactly how much of these ingredients you’ll have when you come to assembling the foil packet. Use your best judgement—if it looks like you have too much fennel or onion for everything to fit comfortably, feel free to change the amounts to suit the situation.
            Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Place the foil packet, onion layer facing down, on the grill and cook for 12–15 minutes, or until the onions are soft and the fish is cooked through. Transfer the packet to a heatproof serving platter and let it rest for about 5 minutes. To serve, open up the packet at the table and divide its contents between you and your guests with a large serving spoon, making sure everyone gets some of the liquid. Top each serving with a dollop of the salsa and a wedge of the remaining half of the orange.