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grill that too

Recipe: grilled salmon

Over the weekend, we did a little sampling of a few dining establishments. It’s nice to be able to eat out again without the worry of getting sick from ice, utensils, garnishes, and even the food itself. I’m no longer neutropenic! We dropped by Wild Mountain Smokehouse in our own little town because Jeremy was in the mood for some Tennessee style pulled pork (where he spent many a summer of his youth).

i love me a little piggy

a third rack of ribs

The last time we ate here was after a chemo infusion (because I could usually stomach one meal before everything went to hell in a handbasket). I distinctly remember feeling so disappointed because the barbecue didn’t taste particularly good to me, and I assumed it was my chemo. It wasn’t my chemo… I really wanted to believe that the ‘cue was good here, but it isn’t so. My barbecue kicks its ass and I don’t even smoke my meats. Jeremy was disappointed with his pulled pork sandwich (and the reason for that might be because I had made him a pulled pork sandwich earlier in the week – Carolina style). And something is just amiss with their sauces – at least the Tennessee (vinegar-based) and their Texas (tomato-based) sauces.

The next morning we hoofed it on down to friggin’ Denver (I never like going into Denver – I never like heading East). We had two of our buds in tow with us because dim sum should always be enjoyed in multiples of 4 or 6 to maximize the sampling. I had searched online for the best dim sum in Denver and came up with Superstar Asian (I know… who names these places? Those *crazy* Asians…). They serve dim sum all week, but folks advised going on weekends when turnover is high and the output is fresh.

my chicas ready to chow down

Best in Denver. I suppose it may very well be the best in Denver. My problem (and I realize it is MY problem) is that I have eaten dim sum almost exclusively in Los Angeles and San Francisco – and Denver is neither of those. Not even close. I rate Superstar a C overall, but with grade inflation on the rise and this being Colorado (i.e. the middle of BFE as Asian cuisine goes) you could slide that scale to a B. They carried many of the standards that we enjoy like taro dumplings, shrimp and Chinese chive potstickers, riblets, bbq pork buns, braised pork and vegetables wrapped in tofu sheet, turnip cake, Chinese broccoli, tofu flower (sweet) and some of the items that I don’t dig (but my parents like): tripe, stomach, braised chicken feet, etc. But everything I ate was made in a crude fashion, the flavor either inferior or slightly off because of the addition of some random and odd herb. The bbq pork buns (a standard) were downright wrong. At least all of the ladies carting food around understood mandarin (well, they understood my mandarin) and they were as pushy as the best of them (a good sign). The clientele was mostly Asian, perhaps the single largest concentration of Asians I’ve seen in Colorado outside of Super H Mart thus far.

I avoided fish for the past 5 months. Obviously I couldn’t eat sushi because of my compromised immune system, but I also just didn’t eat cooked fish. They said if you really love a food, to avoid it during chemo just in case you get sick on it and have bad associations afterward. But I have the green light now. And green means GO.

oh, you beaut

I read somewhere that the Boulder Whole Foods sells the highest volume of seafood of all the Whole Foods in the US. There is always a line at the counter and their seafood is surprisingly gorgeous and fresh for being 1000+ miles from the ocean. It’s where we picked up a pound of luscious wild Copper River salmon for $30! I couldn’t resist. It sang to me from behind the display case.

simple lemon and dill

I like talking fish at the counter because people never expect a chick to know her fish, but I do. I began fishing at the age of 3 and we fished freshwater, brackish, salt water. I fished ponds, streams, rivers, piers, surfs. Once some dude was asking about a special shipment of bluefish and I made a face. He asked me why I was grimacing and I explained that we used to catch blues in Virginia and I would never eat one older than a few hours dead – because the flesh turns powdery in no time flat. So why on Earth would you eat one that was sitting on a plane for hours on its trip to Boulder? And then there was the time someone asked me to explain why the belly is so desirable for sushi lovers… [A totally hot guy in line after me. Yes Mark, there I go again – but he was impeccably polite, tall, and handsome – Jeremy will confirm this!]

to the grill!

We grilled that delightful hunk o’ salmon with a sprinkle of salt, lemon slices, and fresh dill. Just a quick, simple, and satisfying way to serve a lovely fish. I used to get nervous grilling fish without foil underneath (that fear of watching it fall apart and down through the grate of the grill). Then ten years ago, my parents were visiting and while I was admiring a Williams-Sonoma fish grilling basket, my dad walked by and grabbed it from my hands and bought it for me. I love it and I love grilling fish with it because I can get the direct heat and all of the flavor without my fish sitting in a pool of liquid. I like the crunchy, crispy bits too. In any case, it was worth the wait.


Simple Grilled Salmon
[print recipe]

1-2 lbs. filet of fresh salmon
2 lemons, sliced thin
2 cups fresh dill sprigs

Layer lemon slices on fish basket. Set salmon over the slices (skin down). Sprinkle salt over salmon, layer with dill, then layer with more lemon slices. Close the basket. Grill over medium high heat, skin-side up for ~8 minutes (depends on thickness of your fish). Flip over and cook another 5 minutes or until done. Serve hot.

30 nibbles at “grill that too”

  1. Kitt says:

    You might try King’s Land for dim sum sometime just for comparison. it’s just across the parking lot from Super Star. Probably still not up to West Coast standards, though.

    That salmon looks fabulous!

  2. barbara says:

    Mmmmm now I’m gonna’ grill my salmon next time.

  3. Cynthia says:

    My first real dim sum was breakfast in Penang, Malaysia, all by myself, and about 100 other Chinese/Malay patrons. Priceless experience and almost price less at only about 2 USD. I porked. I know the BEST places to go in Penang having made many Chinese friends while living there, and who catered to my every culinary desire.

    Per your previous post: I fiber optically ran over to the Bri website to donate. Thank you, thank you for your words of wisdom and your testimony. As the mother of 3 daughters, a daughter to my mother, a wife and a sister to people who need me, thank you! I am going to go feel myself up right now. Blessings to you Jen.

  4. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    Sorry to hear that your pork experience wasn’t the best…however that salmon must have tasted amazing, all the more so because you hadn’t had it in so long. Looks stunning, too :) Oh and I LOVE those taro dumplings that they give you, have a massive craving for them right now…

  5. peabody says:

    That’s a bummer. Because if you have a pig and a beer on your sign, it SHOULD be good darn it all!
    The fish look delish.

  6. manggy says:

    Don’t worry, Jen, I kind of get it now. Yesterday my friend was lamenting to me about the mean interviewer (consul?) who denied her her US visa, and she was so sad and angry, but she HAD to note how hot he was.

    Ahem. Anyway, No more neutropenia! w00t! I would’ve probably freaked out and put you in a bubble, but no one can contain you, haha :) That’s an excellent enough reason to pig out big-time! Sorry the barbecue meal was a bust, though. I can’t believe a shop with an x-rayed pig in front of spilled beer as a logo would be so inferior! Lol. It looks good, though. Ah, the problem of great photography, haha!

    I’m not very critical of dimsum… I mean, sometimes the thing falls apart too easily, the shrimp’s become too chewy, the wrapper’s too thick, but flavor-wise I don’t think I’ve ever regretted eating one. One very good bun house here (I dunno if it’s just nostalgia, as I’ve been eating it forever, or if it’s really the best) makes awesomely flavored char siu buns, but the cut of meat sucks– it’s half fat. I have to spit out all the chewy gelatinous bits ’cause I don’t like eating solid fat.

    There’s no reason a girl can’t know her fish! :) And you’ve made excellent fish here. Salmon, dill, and lemon… It’s just a classic. I adore the crispy charred bits you’ve created, too!

  7. manggy says:

    Oh, I forgot to say: LOVELY design on your friend’s shirt!! :D

  8. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I’d make some rice to go with this beauty – we are crazy for rice here in Brazil. :)

  9. Barbara says:

    So happy to hear you immune system is back up to snuff. The salmon looks incredible! There’s nothing like a fresh piece of fish. yum

  10. Diana Banana says:

    WOW that fish looks amazing! How sweet of your daddy to get that for you on the fly.

    I’m so happy that you can start eating more yummy things again, and I’m happy that you don’t associate types of food with yucky feelings. Hooray!

  11. bee says:

    you have me craving dim sum so bad. i haven’t eaten it in ten years now, and it’s on my top 5 fav list. i guess i’ll just have to make it. glad to see you’re able to enjoy your food again.

  12. Mrs Ergul says:

    I think you might just be my saviour! Please tell me you know the Chinese name for halibut, cod and some other more common fish. I know the one for salmon though, ‘san wen yu’ lol

  13. Christine says:

    Jen – I’ve feared grilling salmon without foil because the last time I tried, it was a disaster. Lemon and dill are such simple, fantastic partners for salmon. Great idea to line the grill with the lemon slices!

  14. Spencer says:

    I’d love any recommendations for dim sum in Los Angeles. I also love your blog and think you’re pretty amazing.

  15. Barnaby Dorfman says:

    Lovely post and great website! The grilled lemons are making my mouth water. For those of you who fear grilling salmon, the basket used here is a great device. I also have a trick I call “Inside-Out-Salmon-Steaks.” It’s an easy way to grill and keep the fish moist. Check out my post and pics here:

  16. jenyu says:

    Kitt – I did notice there were other places around that shopping center. I’ll give it a try – thanks!

    Barbara – :)

    Cynthia – I miss good dim sum :( Sounds like you had access to AWESOME stuff! Glad you could contribute to Bri’s fund!

    Laura – yeah, aren’t those taro dumplings good? But only if served piping hot! :)

    Peabody – I know, isn’t that just the cutest sign? Maybe we foodies are a tad on the picky side.

    Mark – hot men are great to look at… not so great to date. Put me in a bubble, huh? ;) I felt like I was in a bubble of sorts. I didn’t think I was too critical of dim sum either – which makes me think the dim sum was worse than I thought. hmmmm. yeah, my friend has a lot of hilarious t-shirts.

    Patricia – we had grilled vegetables and salad, but in winter I can’t resist a nice bowl of hot steaming rice!

    Barbara – absolutely!! thanks :)

    Diana – he’s funny that way. My dad always wants to buy me things – especially if it is related to cooking! Thanks :)

    Bee – my goodness, could you possibly live someplace even more remote than I with nary a dim sum restaurant nearby??

    Mrs. Ergul – oh no!! Now you discover that I didn’t even know the name of salmon in Chinese. I’m pathetic :( I’ll ask my mom about the other names if you like :) Maybe you’ll prompt me to get off my bum and learn more Chinese.

    Christine – I like lining with lemon for the flavor, but the fish grill baskets are quite wonderful for grilling filets and whole fish. Even fish steaks!

    Spencer – Thanks, you’re very kind. Try NBC Seafood in Monterey Park (on Atlantic, south of Garvey). There is also Emperor Seafood something or other. Once you get to that block (Atlantic and Garvey) there are a ton of places to choose from. San Gabriel also has good places. Hope you find a good one!

    Barnaby – thanks for the tip!

  17. Maya says: up fish for 5 months?!
    Your salmon looks amazing, Jen!!

  18. Joy says:

    The grilled salmon is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! Amazingly simple, healthy and delicious. I just love it! Glad your back to fish! What a lovely welcome back!

  19. Mrs Ergul says:

    If you don’t mind me being a little thick skin by asking such a favour from you, I will really like to know the equivalent of the fish in Chinese :)

    And yes please go learn Chinese. I speak both English and Chinese but maybe because I am Chinese, I feel that this is a very brilliant language in the sense that the words have very deep meanings behind them. it rocks. even my non-Chinese husband taught so after learning about 50 Chinese words hehe

  20. Angela says:

    Great posting! I love the salmon pictures. They are GORGEOUS, but too large to Stumble (I like to photoblog my stumbles). Thanks for sharing your awesome site on Tastespotting!

  21. Chez US says:

    Don’t you love salmon this way – nothing like it! Fantastic photo!

  22. jenyu says:

    Maya – yup, 5 very sad months. But it makes it all the sweeter now :) Thanks!

    Joy – thank you, you’re very sweet.

    Mrs. Ergul – okay, I’ll either ask my mom or aunt sometime this weekend. I speak Chinese (mandarin) but there is so much vocabulary I don’t know. However, I’m really good at asking why your SAT scores aren’t higher in Chinese ;) I find all foreign languages have their special meanings that are hard to translate. It’s really neat.

    Angela – thank you.

    Chez US – thanks sweetie!

  23. Mrs Ergül says:

    Thanks in advance Jen! But no urgency on that cuz I won’t be buying fresh fish from the fishmonger for at least a month :) That’s true. each language has its own magic

  24. Della Yee says:

    I discovered your blog site when I googled for a recipe using pickled mustard greens. I am an ABC transplanted from California to North Carolina. I had breast cancer 5 years ago. The ultimate insult during chemo was losing my taste buds. I love to cook and I made daily fresh dinners for my husband and daughter. I drove them crazy with “How’s it taste?” everyday. The t. buds DID come back, thankfully. I’m healthy and happy these days. Thanks for your wonderful blog site. It’s lonely being an ABC in the south.

  25. White On Rice Couple says:

    Too bad your BBQ meal sucked, that’s a terrible waste of money! Your last brisket BBQ really made Todd hold you in high esteem. You ski and BBQ. Gosh, I’ve got lots of catching up to do!
    The photographs are stunning, so lovely with the thin lemon slices and dill!

  26. jenyu says:

    Mrs. E – yeah, my aunt will be in town this coming weekend, so I’ll try to remember to ask her about it!

    Della – I totally understand your heartbreak over the food thing. I couldn’t taste much and just gave up trying to eat my favorite foods until chemo was over. Suckage for foodies. And yeah, it IS lonely being ABC in the South (I grew up in Southern VA). The blogosphere sort of lessens the pain ;)

    WoRC – catching up? Hello!?! Girlfriend, you’re a superstah in my book, so just shut up about the skiing and bbqing because you have got a sweet gig going on over in So Cal. Speaking of which, we’re still planning our dates, but I’ll email you when we book tix. I can’t wait to see you guys (and the PUPS!!).

  27. Mrs Ergul says:

    xie xie ni :)

  28. Thomas says:

    i have another similar salmon recipe. email me

  29. Bag Sealer says:

    That salmon looks so good it’s making me way to hungry to be at work.

  30. jenyu says:

    Mrs E – :)

    Thomas – thanks, but I’m good (and busy)

    Bag Sealer – sorry!! :)

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