Salt-Grilled Salmon With Herb-And-Shallot Oil

I’ve read a lot about baking and roasting whole fish crusted in salt, essentially creating a “shell” of solidified salt that the fish cooks inside. I think that sounds wonderful but not so easy for a home cook to accomplish. So, for this recipe, I created a simpler preparation that would still result in the great seasoning that cooking on a salt bed provides. Coarse salt is a must, and a grill pan works well, but you can use a cast-iron skillet too.

The fish takes a little longer to cook than it normally would when grilled because the bed of salt protects it from the direct heat of the pan. And despite the amount of salt used, the salmon doesn’t take on an overly salty flavor. Instead, the fish is pleasantly seasoned and very tender.

To balance the mildness of the salmon steaks, I marinated them a short time in citrus and garlic flavors, and made a simple oil-based sauce to drizzle over them after grilling. Fresh herbs and shallot infuse the olive oil and provide a savory finish for the dish.

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the Oil

  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Salmon

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped orange zest
  • 1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 6-oz salmon filets with skin, about 1-inch thick
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt

Preparation

For the Oil

  1. Combine the shallot, all herbs, salt, and pepper in a sealable container.
  2. Add the olive oil, seal, and shake well to combine. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. (Shake again before using.)

For the Salmon

  1. Combine the oil, orange and lemon zest, garlic, and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the oil mixture all over the salmon filets, coating both sides. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
  2. Pour the salt into a grill-pan and smooth to an even layer. Set the pan over medium-high heat and warm until the salt is very hot.
  3. Place the salmon flesh-side down on the salt and grill 6 minutes. Turn the fish skin-side down and grill until just cooked through but still opaque in the middle, 4-5 minutes longer, depending on thickness. (Gently brush off any loose salt grains on the flesh.)

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