July 22, 2008

Salmon and Eggplant

Salmon and Eggplant

Salmon and Eggplant

Cedar Plank Salmon and Grilled Eggplant

This weekend we had some fun with the grill. Since Sunday was an unscheduled day, I had some time to prepare before dinner. I soaked a cedar plank that I'd gotten on sale a few weeks ago so that I could try my first cedar plank seafood recipe.

I got my salmon recipe here, on Food Network's website, but it was the most simple recipe possible.

You soak the cedar plank for an hour or two. Heat the grill. Heat both sides of the plank for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper a skinless salmon fillet. Spread Dijon mustard on one side of the salmon, then sprinkle brown sugar over it. Place the fillet on the plank (sugar-side up). Grill until done (fish flakes, internal temp of 140F).

The cedar does impart a great flavor to the salmon, but this mustard and sugar combo would be great for cooking without cedar as well (and in that case, I'd leave the skin on the other side of the fillet and cook the fish in some sort of grill basket).

The eggplant is a tiny bit more work, simply because you have to mix up a marinade, and you need to salt the eggplant to remove bitterness. But it's a very simple marinade, and the salting only takes 15-30 minutes.

Grilled Honey-Garlic Eggplant

1 eggplant
1 1/2 Tablespoon honey (I try to use local stuff!)
3 Tablespoons of olive oil (any type, but Portuguese Saloio is my favorite for recipes with strong flavors)
5 garlic cloves crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel strips off the eggplant's skin, then slice it to form 1/2 inch thick rounds. Salt the slices on both sides and place them on paper towels. I use my heavy sheet pans for this, and I place paper towels over the slices as well so that I can place another pan on top and add a 10 lb weight to help push out some of the water. Let it sit for 15 minutes while you mix all the other ingredients for the marinade.

Wipe off the salt and pat the slices dry. Dip each slice in the marinade, then throw it on a preheated grill at medium. You can turn the eggplant after 3 minutes to create a crosshatch pattern. Brush the remaining marinade over the slices and flip them to grill the other side. A total of 6 minutes per side should be good.

I stole the eggplant recipe from here -- an excellent local(ish) blog about cooking fish. It's entitled Beyond Salmon. I encourage you to go there as soon as you have time, if you're at all interested in cooking fish, and branching out from salmon. It's a wealth of excellent information!

BTW - that marinade smells incredible, thanks to the smoked paprika.

These recipes were an amazing success. I'll definitely be using both again. I actually overcooked the fish a little because I found and removed a worm while I was checking for bones. No parasites can survive the cooking process over 140F, so I wouldn't worry about it. That's the breaks with wild fish. Always cook your food thoroughly.

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Posted by James at July 22, 2008 1:39 PM
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BTW - if you don't want to skin your own salmon fillet, your fishmonger should be able to skin it for you. Even Stop & Shop will do it, although the better the fishmonger, the more likely you are to get the skin removed carefully.

Wild Alaskan sockeye was on sale this week at our Stop & Shop.

Posted by: James at July 22, 2008 1:56 PM

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