(Family Features) - Whether you dress up Alaska salmon with your favorite marinade or simply season it with salt and pepper, there's a reason why it always tastes wildly delicious - Alaska salmon is truly wild.
Born in the pristine waters of one of the world's last unspoiled coastlines, these hearty fish thrive in abundance in natural surroundings, developing the firm texture and superior flavor that make wild Alaska salmon the perfect fish for grilling and planking.
To make summer eating easy and delicious, try these simple grilling and planking tips and recipes - each recipe works great whether you use a plank or go for it straight on the grill. And you can feel good about serving Alaska salmon, as it is one of the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Wild Alaska Seafood Grilling Tips
Preparing the Grill
- Fish cooks best over a medium-hot fire; shellfish require a hot grill.
- Make sure the grill is hot before you start cooking.
- Liberally brush oil on the grill just prior to cooking.
Grilling Fish and Shellfish
- Cut large steaks or fillets into meal-size portions before grilling.
- Use a grill basket or perforated grill rack to keep flaky fish or smaller shellfish from falling through the grill bars.
- Brush fish or shellfish with oil very lightly just before cooking.
- Always start to grill fish with the skin side up. (If the skin has been removed, the skin side will appear slightly darker.) This allows the natural fat carried beneath the skin to be drawn into the fillet, keeping it rich and moist. It's also easier to turn when the more delicate or "flesh" side cooks first.
- Turn fish/shellfish only once. For easy turning, use a two-prong kitchen fork inserted between the grill bars to slightly lift fish fillets or steaks, then slide a metal spatula under the fish and turn. Use long-handled tongs to turn shellfish.
- Cook fish approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Fish/shellfish continues to cook after it's removed from the heat, so take it off the grill just as soon as it is opaque throughout. To check for doneness, slide a sharp knife tip into the center of the thickest part of a cooking seafood portion, checking for color. Remove from the heat just as soon as it turns from translucent to opaque throughout.
Plank Grilling Tips
Planking is a traditional Northwest-style of cooking using aromatic pieces of wood. It's a great way to add subtle flavors to your wild Alaska seafood.
Planking works best for thin foods like fish fillets or shellfish. The flavor comes from contact with the plank. Arrange foods in a single layer so that as much as possible touches the aromatic wood.
Easy Planked Seafood
Purchase pre-cut planks at barbecue and grill shops or some larger grocery stores. Or go to your local lumberyard and purchase untreated hardwood lumber. Do not use pine or other soft woods, as they are too resinous.
- The best wood choices for planking are cedar, alder and oak. Hickory and maple are also good.
- Presoak the plank in water for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Pat planks dry with paper towels and spray-coat or lightly oil one side (place seafood on oiled side).
- Season seafood lightly with an herb blend, a rub like Sunny Chipotle Rub or Terrific Taj Rub or just salt and pepper. Go easy, as you don't want to overpower the flavor you will get from the plank.
- Preheat one side of grill to medium-high and place the planked seafood on indirect (nonheated) side and close lid.
- Turn the heat down to medium.
- Check the seafood frequently for doneness after 10 minutes.
- To glaze seafood, brush on Asian Glaze or an Asian-style barbecue sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling or planking; cover and let it cook to a sheen on the fish.
- Seafood changes from translucent to opaque as it cooks and will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat. Cook just until opaque throughout.