Clearly this baby has decided to be ‘fashionably late’ and not respect the due date assigned nearly nine months ago. So rather than huffing and puffing my way through labour, I set out to make dinner for us instead. Fast, simple and healthy was what I was in the mood for and the barbecue-friendly weather suited the recipe for the Great grilled side of salmon.
I had anticipated a labour-free evening, so had already prepared some citrus butter ahead of time by mixing softened butter with finely grated lime peel, forming it into a cellophane-wrapped log and refrigerating it hours ahead. While my husband went out to heat the barbecue to medium, I was to do the mathematical calculations for how long to cook our side of salmon. The cookbook advised me that it takes 10 to 12 minutes for every inch of thickness. This side of salmon was only an inch thick so we would be eating it in no time at all.
I ran my fingers along the middle section of the salmon to check for bones and was pleased to not find any. Which meant that I did not need to retrieve my tweezers in order to remove them. With a full-term baby in my belly I wasn’t up for any extra trips up and down the stairs if they weren’t necessary. Call me lazy, but I figure I’m only pregnant for a few more days (or hours?) so I still have the right to pregnancy privileges: choice seating on the subway, dessert every day and the right to assign item retrieval tasks to any member of my household over the age of 2. Yes, that does include our toddler.
We hesitated placing such a small side of salmon straight onto the grill for fear that once cooked, we would lose half of it in the removal process. So I took a piece of aluminum foil, brushed it with olive oil, placed the fish onto it, and turned up the edges of the foil to form a small lip around all sides. I brushed the olive oil seasoned with cumin, coriander and thyme over the salmon and looked forward to 15 minutes in the future when we could sink our teeth into a flavourful slice of freshly grilled salmon.
I advised my husband to barbecue the fish for 10 to 12 minutes and to test its doneness by inserting a knife tip into the thickest part of the fish, holding it there for 10 seconds and verifying that the knife tip comes out warm. Do not think that I happened to know to do all this, as if I was some seasoned pro – I most certainly did not. We usually check to see if fish is cooked by using a fork to see if it flakes and that it is no longer translucent (and thus ruining its aesthetic). The Chatelaine cookbook opened my eyes to this ‘knife trick’ and my husband reported that it worked well. No messy mashed bits in the centre of the salmon due to our usual hackneyed doneness verification. Ah, I have learned so much.
Also as suggested in the cookbook, we used two wide spatulas to remove the fish and carefully lift the salmon onto a cutting board. What an easy and flawless transfer! I sliced the citrus butter into rounds and put them onto the steaming fish.
As I’m sure you can guess, this meal was a hit. I only wish I had purchased a larger portion of salmon as we were all left wanting more. Oh well, summer has yet to begin so we will have plenty of opportunities for barbecued salmon again.