Thursday, June 2, 2011

This doesn't taste like a lake.

Cedar-planked Alaskan King salmon, ready for some heat. © Ryan Schierling
The first time I ate salmon was at the Four Seasons Hotel. It was a work-related event as part of my first full-time job out of college – a banquet in a swanky little event room complete with requisite white table linens. The choices for dinner were the standard beef, chicken and fish options, and salmon was the featured fish… so that's what I chose. At the time it seemed the safest selection to avoid drawing attention to myself as an extremely inexperienced carnivore.

My first impression of salmon? It tasted like a lake.

It was 'good' but it took me right back to summer camp and the days I spent swimming in the lake as an adolescent.

About a year went by before I tried salmon again. This time it was at the home of a neighbor. I clearly remember that it was a whole fillet, cooked on a gas grill. I think it was essentially steamed. I recall it being unwrapped from a shroud of aluminum foil and then experiencing the luscious aroma of lemon and dill wafting a delicious "hello" in my direction.

It was a revelation – and it didn't taste like a lake at all. So began my love affair with salmon...

Pictured above is robust fillet of wild-caught Alaskan King salmon prepared for the indirect heat grill with salt and pepper, fresh dill and lemon slices. A thin, untreated cedar shake that has been thoroughly soaked in salted water overnight does duty here as an economical plank.

Finished with a squeeze of lemon and served with a simple wild rice pilaf, we're talking about a meal with classic Pacific Northwest credentials.


  1. That looks absolutely delicious! I love salmon; it's by far my favorite fish. When we lived in Monterey, California, we used to grill it whole, stuffed with lemon slices and freshly picked rosemary, which grows along the bike path above the beach along the bay.

    Also works well with freshly caught tuna, although you have to be careful to catch fish that are small enough for your grill.

  2. Jason- No doubt about it, Pacific coast fish will spoil you. Now I'm trying to imagine a back yard grill large enough to accommodate an average sized tuna!

  3. The first time I ever ate-not tasted, but ATE-fish was at your house. You and Ryan made fish tacos and lord in heaven if I didn't gobble that fish right up! Thank you for storming the Bastille of "I Don't Eat Seafood" and breaking down my fish hating walls. I now enjoy a good cedar shake of Salmon as much as the next Puget Sounder.


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