sockeye salmon with fresh polenta and basil oil

(serves 4)


Summer Bounty At Its Best
This dinner is impressive enough to serve guests on a special occasion, yet simple to prepare on a weeknight. Puréed fresh sweet corn gets a quick stir on your stovetop while the salmon cooks on the grill. Fresh basil oil drizzled over the salmon (or served on the side) brings depth to the flavors while adding another burst of summertime.

Basil Oil
3 oz fresh basil (2 cups, packed)
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Polenta
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 4-6 ears  of corn)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Sockeye Salmon with Spice Rub
1 lb sockeye salmon, cut in 4 fillet portions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp ground turmeric

Optional Sides
cherry tomatoes
grilled scallions with a squeeze of lime

Basil Oil
Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil while you prepare a bowl of ice water. Blanch the basil in the boiling water for about a minute. With a slotted spoon, remove the basil from the boiling water and plunge it into the ice water for several minutes. Drain the basil and dry it well. Purée the basil in a blender and very slowly start adding the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh Polenta
Purée the corn kernels in a blender until smooth. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the puréed corn and season with salt and pepper. Stir the corn several times with a wooden spoon. Once it starts to bubble and thicken, after 2-3 minutes, it’s done.

Sockeye Salmon
Preheat your grill. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Brush salmon with olive oil. Combine brown sugar and spices in a small bowl. Rub entire mixture evenly over the flesh side of the salmon. Brush the grill with a little oil to prevent salmon from sticking. Grill salmon, flesh side down over medium heat. After about three minutes, gently turn the salmon to skin side down using a metal spatula. Sockeye is generally a thin fish and cooks very quickly. It usually just takes another 3-4 minutes for the fish to be done, depending on your preference.

You can make the basil oil and spice rub ahead of time. Have your corn puréed and ready to go into the pot before you start grilling the salmon. If you want to add more summer flavor, grill some oiled scallions alongside the salmon, or add some fresh cherry tomatoes to your plate.


view related blog post:  Cherishing Summer's Bounty