Salmon is a rich, fatty fish with distinctly flavoured moist, pink flesh. Its natural oils make it a prime fish for grilling whole or cutting into steaks or fillets. The best dishes to eat with grilled salmon complement its flavours without competing with its succulent texture and complex taste.
Serve a simple slaw made with green and purple cabbage and dressed with a light balsamic vinegar dressing. For a colourful side salad, combine freshly-grilled or thawed frozen corn kernels with roasted red pepper strips and chopped red onion seasoned with salt and pepper. If tomatoes are in season, coarsely chop some red and yellow varieties, mix with thinly sliced fennel, sprinkle with a champagne and olive oil dressing and top with toasted pine nuts.
Grilled Vegetables and Fruits
Since the grill is already fired up for the salmon, use it to cook vegetables and fruit. Grill fresh asparagus spears until tender and season them with melted, curry-infused sweet butter. Parboil and skewer baby red potatoes. Grill until they are slightly charred on all sides and toss them with butter mixed with fresh tarragon, chives or parsley. Cut fresh pineapple into spears and grill alongside mangoes or papayas. Dice the fruits and mix with chopped red onion for a salsa side dish.
Salmon pairs well with lemon, so thin pasta such as cappellini or angel hair, cooked al dente and mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, brings out the best in the fish. For a more filling pasta side, combine linguine with a light cream sauce seasoned with chopped fresh dill. Mix cooked small penne pasta with blanched fresh green beans and pimentos to accompany the grilled salmon.
Rice and quinoa are light, healthy grains that go well with grilled salmon. To add zest to them, mix with ample amounts of freshly-grated Parmesan and blanched fresh or frozen peas. Creamy risotto, lightly seasoned with grated lemon zest, provides contrast to the crisp exterior of the grilled fish. A simple rice pilaf, flavoured with caramelised onions and toasted walnuts, highlights the taste of the salmon.
The richness of salmon makes it more filling than many other types of fish, so light desserts are a good way to end the meal. A light citrus-flavoured Italian ice is a refreshing final course, as is pineapple or coconut sorbet. An elegant way to end a grilled salmon meal is a dessert made from sliced strawberries covered with champagne or sparkling wine, served in a stemmed cocktail glass and garnished with fresh mint leaves.