The Best Seasonings for Grilled Salmon

Written by emily maggrett
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  • Introduction

    The Best Seasonings for Grilled Salmon

    Salmon has a very robust flavour, which means that it can stand up to stronger spicing than most fish. Grilled salmon adapts well to a variety of seasonings, from mustard glazes to port reductions. Methods for seasoning your salmon include grilling it over aromatic herbs; marinating it or giving it a spice rub or glaze before grilling; grilling it over fragranced smoke; and saucing it with a reduction, cream sauce, aioli, flavoured mayonnaise, salsa or vinaigrette. To help you decide how best to season your salmon, some classic flavour combinations are described below.

    Grilled salmon and lemon is a classic combination. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

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    Traditional Salmon Seasonings

    The simplest American tradition for seasoning salmon involves rubbing it with fresh dill, salt, pepper and butter, covering it with lemon slices and then grilling it. Sometimes shallot or onion slices are also grilled with the salmon, and parsley is used to garnish it. These flavours--dill, lemon, butter, salt, pepper, parsley and onion--can also be used to make a marinade, sauce or dressing for grilled salmon. If you are preparing a warm reduction, white wine can be a delicious addition.

    lemon (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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    Italian-Influenced Salmon Seasonings

    Grilled salmon can be marinated or sauced with lemon, garlic and olive oil. Olive oil complements grilled salmon's rich flavours well. For a spicy effect, red peppers or anchovies may also be added to grilled salmon sauces. Grilled salmon can also be sauced with a range of aiolis, from garlicky basil aioli to lemon, caper or sweet red pepper aiolis.

    salmon (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    French-Influenced Salmon Seasonings

    Typical French seasonings for grilled salmon include sauces, vinaigrettes or crusts made with toasted nuts, such as almonds, pine nuts or pecans, as well as relishes made with olives, capers, tomatoes and onions. Sauces for grilled salmon are often made from capers, onions, butter, white wine and herbs (such as dill, thyme, garlic, tarragon and parsley). Ingredients such as orange, fennel and onion may also be used. Vinaigrettes are usually composed from a base of olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. Popular vinegars for this purpose include balsamic sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar. Shallots, sugar, Dijon mustard, herbs and garlic are sometimes used to augment these vinaigrettes.

    salmon (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Creamy Salmon Seasonings

    Creamy sauces for salmon may be made from such bases as sour cream, cream, mayonnaise and yoghurt. These are often flavoured with herbs like fresh parsley, dill, tarragon, mint and horseradish. They are usually brightened with acids such as lemon juice or champagne vinegar. In the case of some sauces, like tartare sauce, chopped pickles may be added. These sauces may be served hot or cold.

    sauce (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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    Mustard Sauces and Glazes for Salmon

    Mustard-based sauces and glazes highlight grilled salmon's forceful flavours. Mustard glazes and sauces usually feature such herbs as tarragon, parsley, garlic and chives. Alcohols like sherry, port, wine and sake are sometimes reduced with mustard and other seasonings in order to create savoury glazes. A pinch of sugar or honey can help round out excessively sharp mustard sauces.

    glaze (Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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    Salsas for Salmon

    Salsas and relishes are a fresh and healthy way to spice grilled salmon. Grilled salmon salsas can be made from tomatoes, lime, cilantro, corn, onions, bell peppers, cayenne and jalapeños. Sweet salsas, made from fruits like mango, grapefruit and tangerines, can also be delicious. Try combining fresh chopped fruits with cilantro, chillies, olive oil and onions.

    salsa (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Smoky Salmon Flavorings

    Another way to flavour your salmon is to throw some aromatics over the coals when you are grilling it. Teas and pungent wood chips (such as hickory) are perfect for this purpose, and will give your grilled salmon a subtle flavour kick.

    grill (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

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    Asian-Influenced Salmon Seasonings

    Flavours from many Asian cuisines pair well with grilled salmon. Try grilling your salmon over lemon grass, or with slices of citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and kumquats. Grilled salmon glazes may be composed from such ingredients as hoisin sauce, scallions, ginger, miso, soy sauce, sake, honey, teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds or oil and red pepper flakes. Cold dressings made with wasabi, such as wasabi mayonnaise, can add zip and tang to your grilled salmon.

    Asian (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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