Food and Drink

Craving a little variety in your grilled Alaska salmon? Here are options.

Salmon dressed up two ways (Photo by Kim Sunée)

Summer suppers can be quick and easy affairs, especially when you’ve got exceptional ingredients. What I love about salmon season is that the quality of our fish is so sublime that you don’t need much to dress it up; add a few sides, a simple, refreshing dessert and you’ve got a seasonal, satisfying dinner. The flip side of salmon abundance in my house is the occasional plea: “not fish again.”

So I light the grill or heat the oven broiler and whip up a variety of marinades and condiments, which go just as well with fish or meat or vegetables. Below are some recipe suggestions and combos to mix and match. Also, embrace mayonnaise. Think about it — it’s mostly oil and egg yolk whipped into a frenzy; it broils up beautifully and helps the flavors adhere better to the fish (or meat or chicken). In a pinch, try full-fat plain yogurt. Grill the fillets or broil on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked to your tastes.

Salmon dressed up

1 sockeye salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds), pin bones removed

Garnishes: flake salt; extra virgin olive oil; lemon (if grilling salmon, cut lemons in half and place cut-side-down on the grill for a few minutes)

Suggestions for one fillet, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds: Remove pinbones from fillet and pat salmon dry. If desired, lightly score salmon in a crisscross pattern using the tip of a sharp knife, being careful not to cut into the whole fillet. This helps the flavors get deeper into the fish. Spread the mixture of choice over the salmon and let sit, uncovered, 30 minutes in fridge before grilling. Make extra to serve on the side or with vegetables.

Mixtures to consider:

*2 tablespoons mayonnaise or plain yogurt + 3 tablespoons finely-chopped kimchi + garnish with sesame seeds and green onions

*2 tablespoons dried za’atar spice mixture + 2 tablespoons yogurt (optional) + fresh herbs, such as dill, basil, mint, flat-leaf parsley and/or cilantro

*2 teaspoons prepared horseradish + hot sauce + fresh herbs + capers

*2 tablespoons mayonnaise or yogurt + 1 to 2 teaspoons harissa + 1 teaspoon honey + 1 teaspoon vinegar

*2 tablespoons oyster sauce + 1 to 2 teaspoons gochujang paste + grated ginger + green onion and sesame seeds for garnish

*Grate two large tomatoes + dash fish sauce + fresh chopped basil + crushed garlic + lime juice (serve over cooked salmon)

*Melt 2 anchovies + 2 minced garlic cloves + fresh chopped parsley in a few tablespoons olive oil

*1 handful of large celery leaves + basil + 1 minced garlic clove (optional) + handful toasted and chopped Marcona almonds or walnuts or pistachios + lemon juice + olive oil

*Finely chop 1 to 2 pitted Medjool dates and stir with fresh lemon or orange juice + parsley leaves + toasted nuts such as Marcona, walnut, or almond

*2 to 3 tablespoons whole grain or Dijon mustard + 1 teaspoon Alaska birch syrup or maple syrup + crushed chile flakes + minced garlic + 2 tablespoons melted butter

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is a bestselling author ("Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home," "A Mouthful of Stars," "Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks") and a former magazine food editor. She's based in Anchorage. For more food and travel, visit