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Food and Drink

This lazy-beautiful salmon recipe is just what you need for weeknight grilling

Chive blossom salmon (Photo by Julia O'Malley)

We’re deep in the heart of salmon season, and I wanted to share what has become my extra lazy weeknight grilled salmon recipe this summer. (I still also use this one for compound butter, which is the easiest ever, but just for variety …) This one features chive blossoms, which are edible and beautiful and very abundant right now. If you happen to have only chives, it still works, but isn’t quite as picture-perfect. I happen to have a lot of chives in my garden, which is right next to my grill so this dish evolved naturally, when one day I just threw a couple of them on a fillet. Then, I figured out how to make a drizzle for the fish that’s warm and infused with chive flavor and everything came together.

The most important part of the recipe is the grilling technique, because overcooked salmon is the worst. The idea is to take the fish from the grill when it’s rare and hot but still translucent in the middle. This gives the fish a soft, sashimi-like texture. The warm chive drizzle and the warm plate cause the fish to cook a bit more, but remain custardy. The other important part is using quality soy sauce or tamari. Not all soy sauce/tamari is created equal. You can definitely go down an internet rabbit hole with this, but I think Eden brand tamari, which is widely available and affordable, has nice depth and salt. I recommend serving the fish with short-grain white rice and maybe some grilled bok choy tossed with lemon, olive oil and gochujang.

Chive blossom salmon

1-2 pound fresh salmon fillet

Two chive blossom balls, deconstructed into individual blossoms

2-3 tablespoons fresh chives, diced

¼ cup good quality soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Place a ceramic fish platter in a warming drawer or the oven at the “keep warm” setting. Heat the grill to 400 degrees. Lay the salmon fillet, skin-side down, on the hot grill and lower the top for 4 minutes. Check for doneness by sliding a spatula between the layers of flesh to check how far into the fillet the fish has cooked. When it’s close, the flesh should pull apart easily. It’s done when it’s mostly cooked through but there is still a slightly translucent oval in the middle of the flesh in the thickest part of the fillet. (You can slice off and remove the tail piece at 5 minutes, if it’s getting done before the rest of the fish.) Most red salmon fillets take no more than 7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the soy sauce or tamari, olive oil and red pepper flakes on the stove until just bubbling, and ready the warm fish plate.

To remove fish from the grill, slide a thin metal spatula between the meat and the skin, leaving the skin on the grill. (I like to let the skin crisp up for 30 seconds or so and then I slice it with a sharp knife and eat it with dinner.) Place the fish on the warm plate. Sprinkle with chive blossoms and chives, pour the hot soy sauce mixture over it. Serve immediately with warm calrose rice.

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