Grilled Salmon Livornese
Whew. It has been awhile. The move across the country put a longer hold on my blogging than I expected, but I’m here, in Walla Walla, WA, and getting settled in quite nicely. I’m more homesick for Boston than I ever thought I would be, but am quickly finding that Walla Walla ain’t a bad place to be, even though the whole town does shut down at 10 on weekends. The Farmers Market today played a pretty big part in convincing me I might be just fine here, and if you come back later this week you’ll find out what I’m planning to do with my bounty. Today is also the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival, but I have to admit I haven’t bought any sweet onions yet, largely because I only saw them for sale in five, ten, or fifty pound bags, and frankly, I do not need that many onions.
What I’m going to tell you about today has nothing to do with Walla Walla, really, other than that this was the first meal I cooked in my new house, and on my new grill. Daddy-o kindly showed me how to light a charcoal grill, and hopefully I won’t be too afraid to do it on my own in the future, because this grilled salmon was pretty spectacular and I definitely would like to do it at again.
I bookmarked a recipe for Salmon Livornese from Everybody Loves Sandwiches ages ago, but seeing as I hardly ever cook fish it never saw its time in my kitchen until my parents and I were looking for something light and simple that would let me try out my new grill. You might notice that the original recipe doesn’t mention grilling anywhere, so I had to do a little tweaking, but it turned out pretty fantastically, making this a nice year-round recipe: You can grill it in the summer and bake it in the winter.
The fish and the sauce are very easy and take no time at all. I served this with barley and grilled asparagus, the barley cooked with just a pinch of chili powder and the asparagus dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and grilled until they were just cooked through, still crisp but with lovely charred marks on the outside. You can make this sauce to accompany any kind of fish, I’m thinking. The original recipe also recommends red snapper, but I can’t think of a thing it wouldn’t go with.
Now, grilling in general is pretty novel for me. I usually leave that kind of thing to Mr. X while I am inside, making salads or pasta or something else that doesn’t involve fire. But I must admit that, while a little intimidating, it wasn’t hard at all to cook this salmon on the grill. I just drizzled a bit of olive oil over both sides of the fillets, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and slipped them onto the grill for about four or five minutes per side. I probably could have checked for hot spots or oiled the grill, and I’m still not sure how much or how little to keep the vents on the grill lid open, but I’d say the fish turned out pretty well even with me not knowing what I was doing.
I cooked the sauce while the fish was on the grill, and after prep, it only took about 10 minutes, so it’s really quite perfect for any kind of meat that doesn’t take too long to cook.
Grilled Salmon Livornese
Adapted from Everybody Loves Sandwiches
- 3 or 4 salmon fillets (one for each person, you’ll have enough sauce for up to 6)
- 2 T. olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- large pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounch can of diced tomatoes
- 1 T. capers
- 1/2 c. chopped, pitted kalamata olives
Prepare the grill. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the salmon fillets and use your fingers or a basting brush to smear it evenly over both sides of each fillet. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and set aside until the grill is hot.
Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to become translucent and slightly golden. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and saute another 30 seconds or so. Stir in the tomatoes, capers, and olives and lower the heat to medium. Let the sauce cook for about five or six minutes covered and another five minutes uncovered, until it’s thick and the tomatoes have broken down into more of a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce is cooking, grill the salmon for about four or five minutes on each side on a covered grill. If you’re adding asparagus to the mix, throw it on about three minutes before the salmon is finished, using tongs to turn it every minute or so until it’s softened and a little charred.
Simple, light, and tasty. And cooking on the electric stove, which I was dreading, wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected. The temperature of the burners adjust more quickly than I expected, which means cooking rice and barley and risotto won’t be nearly the nightmare I anticipated.
So far the new kitchen is working out pretty well for me. I haven’t had a lot of time for cooking as I’ve been settling in and starting the new job, but with such a great Farmers Market in town, and hopefully next summer a garden in my own backyard, you’re sure to hear plenty more from me in the months to come.