Charcoal-Grilled Wild King Salmon with Cherry Tomato-Basil Relish

From Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting,
and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood
By Paul Johnson with photography by Karl Petzke (John Wiley & Sons, 2007)

Serves 4 as a main course

The flavor of fresh wild salmon grilled over charcoal, the tang of cherry tomatoes, and the aroma of fresh basil are incomparable. If I could make every recipe in this book as simple and tasty as this, I would. It’s nothing but simple fresh ingredients that complement one another perfectly. Serve with corn on the cob and green salad. The relish is great on the corn and as a dressing for the salad as well.

  • Four 6-ounce wild king salmon fillets or steaks
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Cherry Tomato-Basil Relish (recipe follows)

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill. Season the fish with sea salt and freshly ground pep­per. Oil the grill rack well and lightly brush the fish with oil. Grill the fish, turning halfway through the cooking process, for a total of 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until slightly charred on the edges and still slightly translucent in the center. Serve with Cherry Tomato-Basil Relish alongside.


Cherry Tomato-Basil Relish

Makes 7 cups

Cherry tomatoes are usually more sharply acidic than many of today’s tomatoes, a good thing, in my mind. A little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fragrant basil leaves, and a sprinkling of salt are all that’s needed to balance their flavor. Use only the best-quality oil and vinegar.

  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half if they’re small or in quarters if they’re large. In a wooden bowl, mash the garlic and salt to a paste with a pestle, then stir in the vinegar. Whisk in the oil, then add the tomatoes and basil, gently tossing everything together. Serve immediately.