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Grill Seared Salmon on a Salad Recipe

Seared salmon on a salad
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3.52 from 37 votes
An ordinary salad is made extraordinary thanks to the addition of perfected seared fresh salmon.

Serve with: a tart white wine such as an Oregon Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

Main Course


Servings: 2 servings


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


About the fish. Use filets, not steaks. Steaks are usually too thick for this procedure. It's nice to get the skin off before you start if you can so you can get the fish crispy on both sides. Have your butcher remove the skin if possible or you can try to remove it yourself with a flexible filleting knife, a very sharp thin flexible blade. It is tricky, and if you do not feel confident you can do it without wasting a lot of fish meat, leave the skin on. If you wish, you can leave the skin on and remove it after cooking, it will peel off easily. If you like fish skin, leave it on and you will be treated to some of the most wonderful crunchy fish cracklin's ever. You might want to slash the skin with long cuts in a few places because the skin on some fish, like perch, contracts and can turn a nice thin filet into a tube. You can do this with any other thick firm fish filet such as halibut, trout, coho, arctic char, haddock, bass, and sea bass. The absolute most important thing in successful fish cookery is freshness.
About the rub. Marietta's Fish Rub is perfect for this recipe but I have also had fun varying the seasoning on the fish. Occasionally I have used dried chipotle powder, dried horseradish, breadcrumbs, dried minced onions, dill, thyme, and other green herbs. Use whatever moves you, but do not use garlic (it gets bitter when subjected to high heat and browning).
About the cheese. I have also done this with grated provolone or even Romano.
About the salt. Remember, Morton coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. Chop the greens. Shred the cheese. Sprinkle the meat side of the fish with a moderate amount of salt, black pepper, paprika, and tarragon. The paprika is mostly for color.
  • Prepare the salad by filling two bowls with the Romaine. You can use other greens and veggies, but in Portland it was just plain Jane Romaine, and that's the way I like it too. Pour the dressing on the lettuce, scatter with the olives, (and chopped tomatoes if you wish), and top with the shredded parmesan.
  • Fire up. Heat the grill as hot as she'll go. Put a cast iron frying frying pan or griddle on the grill until it is as hot as Hades. Pour enough extra virgin olive oil to coat it well (these oils don't smoke as easily as most other oils). Spread it around with your spatula or a silicon basting brush.
  • Cook. Wait til the oil is hot, about 1 minute, just when it starts to shimmer. Place the fillets on the griddle with the most curved side down, and that's usually the skinless side or the interior side. This is important because you want the meat in contact with the oil to make it crispy, and as it cooks it gets less flexible. Press gently so as much fish as possible is in contact with the hot oil. If you wish, toss some hard wood saw dust, chips, or dried herbs on the fire to create lots of aromatic smoke. You want a lot of billowing white smoke because this is a short cook. I often save a few dried oregano or basil plants from last season just for this purpose. And yes, you can use them on a gas grill. They will incinerate thoroughly leaving behind a small amount of harmless ash.
    Salmon fillet on a hot griddle
  • Cook 3 to 7 minutes per side until each is dark golden. A useful tool is a wide set of fish tongs or a wide spatula to help you get the tender fillet off the griddle without it falling apart. It should be not more that 130°F in the thickest parts and be slightly translucent and flaky (in the video below I said 140°F - that's too high).
    Salmon being flipped with a spatula
  • If you see a milky fluid (protein) seeping from the fish, don't worry. It's just a protein called albumin and you can eat it, but it's kind of ugly (see below), so you can daub it off with a wet basting brush or paper towel if you like.
    Salmon with white specks of albumin
  • Take the fish off the griddle with fish tongs or a wide spatula if you have one, and sprinkle with some fresh dill or thyme.
  • Serve. Plate the salad then top with the seared salmon and serve.