I recently discovered two fantastic tricks: One involves the grill, the other a pie.
I found the grill trick online while I was surfing around some food sites or maybe on Facebook — I blew past it before it really registered and only recalled it later that day.
So, first off, my thanks to whatever person or organization shared this trick; it will forever change the way I grill certain fishes. And secondly, let me share my good fortune with you, dear readers.
Drum roll, please. … The trick is to grill fish, in my case sockeye salmon, on top of lemon slices. This prevents the fish from sticking to the grill, and it infuses some wonderful flavor and moisture into the fish.
Sockeye salmon, which is currently in season, along with other varieties of wild salmon, is leaner and healthier than farmed fish. It is a more vibrant color and has minimal fat visibly running through the flesh. It also is trickier to cook, leaving less room for error, because it can dry out quickly.
When I asked the fishmonger about it, she advised me to bake it to avoid this issue. But it was a beastly hot day and the oven was not happening. So I resorted to this lemon approach and it was a corker. The recipe follows.
Tricky Grilled Salmon
Unlike many other grill preparations, this one does not involve a flip. The fish essentially roasts, face up, over the flame, but because it is sitting on the lemon slices, does not char or dry out. It also avoids the awkward step of flipping a large piece of fish and having it break.
1 pound skin-on wild
⅓ cup favorite marinade — I used bottled honey chipotle vinaigrette, but you can use any combo of oil (olive, canola, coconut, vegetable, walnut)/acid (wine, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar)/seasoning (garlic, salt, ginger, spices)
2 lemons, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
Place the salmon in a shallow bowl or glass baking pan and pour the marinade over it. Allow it to sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature. Heat a grill to medium and place the lemon slices on the grill, close together, to form a platform on which to lay the salmon. Carefully place the salmon on the lemon slices skin side down, and cover the grill. Cook the salmon to desired doneness, approximately 10 minutes for medium, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
Serves 2 generously or 4 sensibly
Coconut Blender Pie
The second trick comes from a friend’s mom, an avid and skilled baker. “Nan,” as she is called by all generations in the family, as well as others in their social circle, offered me a slice of her “coconut blender pie” when I last saw her. Intrigued, I inquired further.
She said it doesn’t require a crust, as it sort of forms its own, but it is also kind of custardy. And you throw the whole thing together in a blender in 5 minutes and pour it in the pie pan.
Well, I had to have a slice and I had to have the recipe. The traditional version appears below, but you could easily make this non-dairy by swapping the butter for coconut oil and the whole milk for coconut milk. I used unsweetened coconut; if you use the sweetened variety, simply reduce the sugar to ½ cup.
I preferred this chilled, particularly in the summer, but there is certainly a contingent who like it at room temperature or even a bit warm from the oven. Be sure not to slice it while it is piping hot or it will not hold its shape.
2 cups milk
¾ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups shredded coconut
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-inch pie pan with oil. Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix them thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until the pie is golden brown and firm through the middle. The pie can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Makes one 9-inch pie JN
This article originally ran in the Jewish Exponent, a Jewish News-affiliated publication.