Salmon is one of the easiest types of fish to grill. It retains moisture, is thick enough to turn during cooking without fear of it falling apart and is easily enhanced with a variety of marinades and basting sauces. Salmon’s unique flavor goes well with many hot and cold side dishes and an assortment of vegetables and fruits.
Long or short pasta tossed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil chiffonade, coarsely ground black pepper and shaved or grated Parmesan pairs well with grilled salmon. A creamy mushroom risotto is good salmon companion, as is plain steamed rice studded with thinly sliced scallions or spring onions. Couscous is a light accompaniment and adds color to the plate when mixed with strips of roasted red pepper.
Give a green salad a twist by adding fresh grapefruit sections to the lettuce mixture, a citrus flavor that complements the lush taste and texture of the salmon. Instead of regular cabbage slaw, buy shredded fresh broccoli and carrots and lightly dress them with a bottled poppy seed dressing. If heirloom tomatoes are available, arrange thick slices on a plate with thin cucumber rounds and dress with olive oil and freshly snipped chives. Make a zesty fruit salad with chunks of mango, papaya and pineapple and minced fresh jalapeno peppers.
Since the grill is already fired up for the salmon, use the heat to char-roast fresh vegetables for side dishes. Grill corn on the cob and brush it with melted butter mixed with a little chili powder for a kicked-up taste. Skewer cherry tomatoes, grill until soft, mix with thinly sliced red onion and season with ample amounts of kosher salt and cracked peppercorns. Brush green beans with olive oil and place them in a perforated pan on top of the grill to give them a smoky flavor as they cook.
Since salmon is so rich and filling, light desserts are a good ending to the meal. Creamy fruit-based mousses topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream are welcome final courses. Make homemade ices or granitas with watermelon or cantaloupe served in stemmed cocktail glasses and garnished with fresh mint sprigs. For a simple ending to your grilled salmon meal, halve some plump, fresh strawberries and macerate for a few minutes in balsamic vinegar, which quickly brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit. Instead of a traditional dessert, serve guests a fruity chilled dessert drink such as pina coladas or iced limoncello.