A tale of grilled salmon & a Raging Bitch

By Greg B. No, the raging bitch is not any female I am associated with.  It’s a beer, and one of the few that I actually enjoy from a relatively ‘local’ brewery, Flying Dog.  I put local in quotations, since they’re a transplant from Colorado.  Anyway, grilling season is upon us, and the other day I grilled up some fantastic food, in a recipe which I will happily share with you now.

A few weeks ago I was at H-mart and saw a gorgeous looking fillet of salmon.  It was frozen, and a bit thin, but it was a long stretch of nicely proportioned orange flesh intermingled with bright white stripes of delicious fat.  For this recipe, you’re going to need:

  • 1 Fillet of salmon ~1.25lbs
  • Dried mustard powder (We used a sample of Colman’s mustard)
  • Dried dill weed
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • salt
  • 2 sweet potatoes, microwaved for 3 minutes on high to quickly cook, sliced into wedges
  • cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 (or however many you’d like to drink) bottle of Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA

That’s a lot of ingredients, but I can assure you this is a simple recipe.  Fire up your grill, and while it’s heating head inside.  Poke some holes in your taters, microwave until cooked then slice into long wedges and add your salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper as well as a little oil.  For the fish, be sure to make a nice rub of the mustard, dill, salt and pepper and rub it into the fish.  Don’t be shy, make sure it’s all covered in a nice salty, spicy mixture.  And don’t be shy with the mustard powder either.  I’d estimate about a good tablespoon per side of the fish, and for the dill, less, perhaps 0.5 tablespoons per side of the fish.  This will give you that delicious mustard flavor with a smaller note of dill (and dill is quite powerful in terms of it’s flavor and aroma, so you won’t need much).

Oil up your grill, and cook your potato wedges.  It’s important to note that you shouldn’t microwave too long, or else they’ll be mushy and won’t hold up to the grilling process.  You want to finish them on the grill, get some nice char marks and even char the skin a little bit.  Once they’re done, simply re-oil the grill grate, throw down your salmon and step back.  Cooking time will depend on several factors, of which you are completely in control:

  1. How well done do you like your salmon?
  2. How hot your coals are
  3. Hot thick your salmon is
  4. If you leave the top off or put the top on.

Grilling is great fun, but I enjoy it for the technical challenges it presents.  You really need to be aware of airflow, coal heat, etc.  For this recipe, I knew Jessica would want fish well done, and I’d want some more rare.  So, I used real charcoal, which burns hotter for a shorter period of time.  Since I knew the fish fillet was thicker on one end (about 1.5 inches) then the thinnest end (about 0.24 inches), I figured the cooking time to cook the thinner end to well cooked would be perfect to cook the thicker end to rare.  And I was right.  The hardest part of cooking a fillet of fish like this is flipping it, but if your fish is well oiled and the grate is well oiled, you shouldn’t have a problem.  Cook time, ~ 4 minutes on one side, ~3 minutes on the other with the lid off.

Simply plate up and eat!  The mustard and dill are basically one of nature’s best combination’s of flavors on a salmon, with the rich fatty meat bringing some sweetness to the table, matching the dill and being cut slightly by the mustard.  Add to this meal the Belgian-style IPA, which brings carbonation, a nice malt backbone on which hangs some citrus elements and  resinous pine from their generous hopping regimen.  In this case, the citrus works well with the fish, while the pine actually nicely matches the dill, giving this dish the appropriate atmosphere of being eaten and enjoyed outside in nature.  Sure, downtown Baltimore isn’t the wilderness of the North West US, with helicopters, ambulances and firetrucks always scuttling about, but with this meal and a nice breeze outside, you can almost imagine you’re not in Baltimore anymore toto.

Sit outside and enjoy some nice Maryland May weather and kick back with a brew.  It’s grilling season baby!

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