About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Barbecued Salmon
My nephew went fishing a couple of weeks ago and landed a whopper, a 3.5 kg salmon. He was never going to miss, fishing as he was in a trout and salmon farm at Buxton. Not only did the fish bite hard at his bait, it also bit hard at his parents wallet, costing a massive $65 at the scales. The fish was gutted for them but not filleted and when they got home, it was placed in the freezer, awaiting a suitable occasion and me - ah, the joys of being able to cook. Don't get me wrong, my sister-in-law is an excellent cook and is a dab hand at preparing fish straight from the boat, all the way to the pan, but a large, whole salmon is a daunting thing indeed.

So this Mother's day I was asked to cook this enormous fish for our extended family, but what to do? I had never cooked with a fish so large before and there was no fish kettle to cook it in, if there was, I almost certainly would have carefully poached it. I cast around for information when I saw not so much a recipe, but a simple technique for dealing with a large fish. First, the fish had to be filleted. I've seen the odd person do this at the fishmongers and elsewhere, with large fish, they usually insert the knife at the top of the fish, using the dorsal fin for a guide, working their way through along the entire length.

Well that seemed like a good idea, but then after making a long cut I realized that the dorsal fins on a salmon aren't really long enough to be a good guide and the result was one badly butchered fillet. Time for a rethink. I've been filleting fish all my life and I normally start the cut at the head and slide my knife down along the fish using the internal bones as a guide for the knife, so that's what I did and an almost perfect fillet was the result.

Then I got some aluminium foil, a double thickness, a bit longer than the fillets and laid the fillet on the foil, skin side down, then crimped up the sides all around, but not enclosing the fish, ensuring that any juices couldn't run away. Next I seasoned the fish, heavily with salt and generously with pepper, then I melted 200 g butter and to this added a great big handful of chopped dill and parsley and painted some of this on the fish and left it at room temperature for an hour, to take on flavour.

The barbecue was heated up on the grill bar side with the hood down and when it was hot, the foil packages were placed directly on the grill bars and the heat turned to low under the fish, the side burners were off, the hood was pulled down. I checked every five minutes and basted the fillets with the herbed butter until they were cooked through, which took about 20-25 minutes and the temperature under the hood was a fairly constant 125 c.

Do you know how it is when you try something for the first time and when you come to try it, the result is more delicious than you expected? My first taste of the fish was amazing, it was juicy and succulent with a mild herb flavour, one taste was definitely not enough. There was even a confirmed meat eater there who, well, tolerated fish, but ate up his entire portion and didn't eat the meat that had been specially cooked for him. I love it when a dish works out like that, and the bonus - I made four mums very happy.

Autism Awareness Week

Every day this week I'm going to point to a post that highlights some aspect of autism. Today's post was written by a father of an autistic child and tells poignantly how he actually felt about his child when autism was diagnosed and the subsequent journey and epiphany he later had.

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  posted at 7:06 am

At 7:40 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

Wow - that's a giant bloody fish! And well done you fo filleting. The biggest thing I've attempted to fillet was a sea bass and that's hardly a comparison! Fish on the BBQ can be so so successful if yuo just give it a bit of thought and I love your idea. We have often done a whole salmon (filleted and butterflied by the fishmonger, clearly!) on the bbq, skin side down, lid off and just baste, baste, baste. Yum.

At 12:55 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Well, very deep subject ...
Thanks for showing me another beautiful father. When I worked with children & their families in the hospital it could be easy to get tripped up by the people who just never seemed to get it. Then there where the beautiful families that made everything worth while.
Salmon ... did I (probably) tell you about the fresh salmon we caught in Alaska and cooked on a beach fire on a lake an hours float plane ride from the nearest road! Your salmon sounds close to that one.

At 11:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, I think this is the best way to enjoy freshly caught fish, barbequed in foil envelopes that can be torn open later by the lucky recipient! If the meat-eater has never been fortunate enough to try fish this way, then I'm not surprised he enjoyed this experience :)

At 12:50 pm, Blogger Daisy said...

MMM...delicious. We had Cajun style catfish tonight, but I love salmon!


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