Wednesday, February 24, 2010

0 Recipe #74: Marinade à la Irwin (For Salmon, Chicken, etc.)

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This marinade is one that I used for grilled salmon during a visit to my family last winter.  My mother was hosting a small dinner party in honor of a special guest & was thinking about making salmon. All the ladies of the household (except, of course, for Lily, the family bulldog - LOL!) pitched in to make dinner: My sister made a sweet potato casserole & acorn squash baked in maple syrup, & I made the main course -- grilled salmon with my own special marinade -- that I whipped up on the fly.

My mom typically does a mustard & soy marinade, but I wanted to do something a bit different. I love the standard recipe version -- it's pure & simple -- but somehow when it's me doing the cooking, I just can't seem to stick with simple.  At a bare minimum, I have to add at least two or more spices, or it's a no-go. ;)

So here's my original marinade recipe for the salmon:

Marinade à la Irwin

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
1 c. yoghurt
2 tsp. mustard
1/2 c. dried dill seeds
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
1/2 c. capers, for garnish

Directions: Pour all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag.  Mix well. Add salmon fillets/steaks & thoroughly coat them with the marinade.  Marinate salmon for at least 4 hours before grilling. After grilling, garnish salmon with capers.

Yield: Makes about a quart, enough for 4-5 4 oz. portions of filleted salmon.  (Or, probably enough for 3 6 oz. salmon steaks, which is a rough guestimate.)

Chef's Notes: When grilling salmon, the inside should be moist & flaky.  No one wants to eat dry, overcooked salmon; it's a very unpleasant experience. [I would almost rather eat calf's liver, which I absolutely abhor! ;) ]

So the best way to ensure a good outcome is to grill the salmon for about 4-5 minutes on each side. For outdoor grilling, set a timer to help you keep tabs on the fish (!) & then check it to see whether it needs a few more minutes. I would recommend placing a knife into the flesh of the salmon & prying it open to see how pink the flesh is on the inside. (I personally like mine to be a medium pink color; tender, but not too fleshy.) When the salmon flesh flakes with a knife or fork, it's done. Be sure to remove the salmon just as it reaches the flaking point, or it will begin to dry and toughen. Perfectly done salmon is tender, moist, & flaky.

Also, after the initial 8-10 minutes of grilling, it's probably a good idea to stand near the grill & then watch & wait, checking the salmon each time with your knife. That way, you're less likely to overcook it from neglect or forgetfulness, while you're preparing the other dishes for dinner. :)

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