Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grilled Salmon with Rhubarb Relish

June 2009 231 Don’t let rhubarb season go by without trying this recipe. It’s a dynamite flavor sensation – sweet and savory with a nice kick from the jalapeno. It was almost overkill to pair it with this wild Alaskan Copper River Sockeye Salmon because the salmon was so terrific all by itself. Look at that dark, natural pink color and how moist it stayed, even after grilling. A little squirt of lemon was all it really needed.

But I’ve made this rhubarb relish in the past and didn’t want to miss out on the season without making it this year too.  I already had the salmon planned for dinner and it was wonderful with the rhubarb relish. The relish would really play up a less flavorful fish even better – say a cod, or even tilapia. It’s also great with meat – whether pork chops, chicken or a steak.

The rhubarb came from a friend’s garden and it didn’t have as much red color as I would have liked. In fact, it looked downright drab after I cooked it. So I threw in a quarter of a red pepper to give it some color. This is not the kind of recipe that you have to follow to the letter. If you don’t enough of one ingredient, or you’d like a heavier accent on any one of the ingredients, decrease or increase the proportions to your liking. Be careful of the jalapeno though. Too much and you’ll be drinking more water than a parched sailor.

I served it with grilled asparagus and brown rice. Directions on grilling the salmon and asparagus follow the rhubarb relish recipe.

Rhubarb Relish 

about 1/3 pound of rhubarb

1/3 cup sugar

grated rind of one orange

juice of one orange

1 jalapeno pepper

1 shallot

1/4 tsp. grated ginger

1/4 of a red pepper, diced (optional)

Chop the rhubarb into pieces about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. Put rhubarb into a pot with all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until thick. Cool and serve.

Grilled Salmon

There are lots of ways to grill salmon, and this is only one of them.  Maybe you’ve got a different method, but this works for me. First of all, let me say that salmon is a fatty fish – rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are good for you. But it will flare up over direct heat.

I use aluminum foil and put skin side down. I splashed it with some soy sauce, a little minced garlic, some grated ginger and minced thyme (my everything herb). Once the grill was good and hot, I put down the salmon on the grill and closed the lid. Make sure you don’t go far because it can catch fire even with the foil barrier. (speaking from experience, unfortunately)

Check it every five minutes or so and after about 15 minutes, it’s almost done. Don’t overcook it. It should have some spring when you push into it with your finger. If it’s too cooked, it will be like pushing into a hard rubber ball. And it will taste dry.

Naturally, the skin side gets hotter since it’s closer to the heat and it will stick to the foil, which is good. I don’t like eating the skin anyway and with the skin attaching itself to the foil, you’ll be able to separate the flesh easily using a spatula. If you’re brave and want to try flipping it on another, clean piece of aluminum foil to get some grill marks, go for it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you if pieces flake off and fall between the grates.

June 2009 219  Use a spatula and separate the salmon from the skin before serving

Grilled Asparagus

You can get this going while you’ve got the salmon on the other side of the grill. Just take a piece of aluminum foil, double it up and crimp the edges.

Peel your asparagus using a vegetable peeler. (sorry but I always do this. It doesn’t take that long and you never have to bite into a stringy stalk.) Place the stalks on the foil and toss with a splash of olive oil, salt, garlic and freshly chopped thyme. (yes, thyme again)

Place the foil on top of the hot grates and cover the grill with the lid. Let the asparagus cook a few minutes, then lift the lid and rotate the asparagus. Cook for a few more minutes, then remove and eat.

June 2009 220 


  1. I use Reynolds nonstick foil to grill my every time!
    Love the photo of the skin on the foil!

  2. An interesting combination! Very yummy looking! I love rhubarb!



  3. Hi Linda,

    I only have two words for this.



  4. Your salmon is perfect. Grilling it is the only way.

    I prepared your grilled shrimp and tabouli salad. So, so good. I'll never used a boxed tabouli mix again. What a great dinner.

  5. Just love the flavour combinations here. Beautiful. That relish looks so good! WOW!!

  6. There goes that rhubarb again (oh how I groaned when I read the part 'The rhubarb came from a friend’s garden..') -- lucky, lucky you, as it's something that I wish I could grow here, had I the patience! Salmon and rhubarb sounds wonderfully delicious!

  7. I need to get on the rhubarb train before it leaves the station!

  8. I love grilled asparagus!!!!! Thats the best way to prepare it!

  9. I love a spicy-fruity sauce or relish with fish. This sounds fantastic!

  10. That looks simply delicious! I just love rhubarb. We've been eating it all week with strawberries. What a great relish idea!

  11. Wow, the salmon looks amazing! The colors are just beautiful and grilling is definitely my favorite way to eat fish! This looks healthy and delicious!

  12. Growing up all we made was rhubarb pie and it was divine, so of course, I'm loving the idea of rhubarb relish! Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. As much as I love rhubarb, I've been stuck on the compote or baked bars, and strawberry pairings bandwagons. Then here you come along and shake things up with a jalapeno-spiked relish! Thank you!! This is being printed out immediately, not just bookmarked. 8-D

  14. Rhubarb relish sounds fantastic with grilled salmon! I love rhubarb and will be giving this preparation a try for sure!

  15. This looks really good for dinner..

  16. Linda, I have never been much of a rhubarb fan, but I'd have no problem devouring that beautiful salmon and asparagus!

  17. Great use of rhubarb. I will have to give this one a try.

  18. The real star here is the salmon...look at that colour and look at the result! I've never heard of using foil for grilling...I oil my grill and nothing sticks.

  19. Wow, what a great recipe!! I love the combination and the idea of a rhubarb relish, 10/10!!!