Grilled Salmon with Chunky Gazpacho Vinaigrette

Salmon on the grill is a special treat in itself, no matter if it has been marinating in a special sauce, coated with a tangy glaze or cooked on a cedar plank. And for grillers who are tired of burgers, steak or chicken, salmon is the way to go.

I recently cooked some Lake Michigan salmon on the grill using a tasty herb and white wine marinade from Lawry’s. It was delicious.

But now, with a couple more of the fillets awaiting my attention, I’m turning to a new recipe that was created by Sara Moulton, who was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. (She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”)

The salmon is dressed with a gazpacho vinaigrette. Gazpacho, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a cold Spanish soup with many variations, but the basic recipe is a refreshing tomato-based vegetable soup. In Moulton’s recipe, she has added extra-virgin olive oil and sherry wine vinegar, thereby “repurposing” the soup into a chunky vinaigrette dressing.

Grilled Salmon with Chunky Gazpacho Vinaigrette
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ pound ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes), diced
4-inch piece English cucumber, diced
Kosher salt
½ clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 6- to 8-ounce pieces center-cut salmon or arctic char fillets, skin on
Olive oil cooking spray
Chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, tarragon, cilantro or parsley), to garnish (optional)
Heat the grill to medium.
In a medium bowl, toss together the pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well, then spoon half of the mixture into a blender.
To the blender, add the garlic, vinegar, a few grinds of pepper and the olive oil. Puree until smooth. Add the puree to the bowl of diced vegetables, stir well and season with salt and pepper.
Use paper towels to pat dry the salmon fillets. Spray the fillets all over with the olive oil spray, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets, skin side down, on the grill grate over direct medium heat. Cover and cook until the flesh right next to the skin looks opaque, 6 to 7 minutes.
Flip the fillets and cook until just cooked through, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the fish from the grill using a wide metal spatula.
To serve, divide the sauce between 4 shallow bowls, then set a piece of salmon over each, skin side up (you can easily peel off and discard the skin at this point, if desired). Garnish with chopped herbs, if desired.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 450 calories, 58 percent of  calories from), 29 grams fat (5 grams saturated, no trans), 115 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 360 milligrams sodium.

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