Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

July 15, 2013

{O} MEGA-Delicious: Easy to grill and packed with nutrients, salmon makes the perfect summertime meal

Amy Brocato Pearson
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — I’ve been a bit obsessed this summer: With grilled salmon.

I can't get enough; I eat it probably once a week and want it far more often than that.

For the longest time, I was too intimidated to cook fish of any kind. I'm not sure what got me over my fear, but once I started grilling salmon, I was hooked.

You get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck with salmon. It has a high protein content and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Omega-3’s are said to support metabolism, can help prevent stroke, reduce the chance of breast cancer, relieve pain for arthritis sufferers and help prevent heart attack. Some studies show an increased cognitive function in people with developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders or ADHD. Other studies show omega-3s can improve bipolar disorder and slow down cognitive aging, such as in cases of dementia.

There's been debate in recent years over farmed salmon versus wild salmon. Most experts agree you want to eat wild salmon, found predominantly on the West Coast (some 98 percent of East Coast salmon is said to be farmed). Farmed salmon may contain dioxins (an environmental pollutant), but still below levels where it's dangerous or the drawbacks outweigh the benefits of eating farmed salmon.

Bottom line, eat salmon.

I love it grilled, without a lot of extras on it. A wise fisherman once told me to always, always undercook salmon so it retains its velvety, buttery texture and delicate flavor. He was right (and it won't hurt you; people eat it raw in sushi every day). Having a fish basket for your grill helps tremendously; your fish won't stick to the grill.


Lemon Dill Salmon

Serves 2

1 lb wild salmon, skin left on

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 lemon, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp dill

sea salt and pepper to taste

Rub fish on both sides with olive oil. Combine dill, salt and pepper. Rub into flesh side of fish. Place on fish grill basket, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place thin slices of lemon over flesh side of fish.

If you do not have a fish grill basket, do not fear. Heat your grill to high, scrape clean. Remove grill grate (let cool), rub liberally with extra virgin olive oil, replace over heat.

Prepare grill at medium heat. Place fish, skin side down, on grill. Cook for 3 minutes, or until skin becomes crispy. Flip. Cook an additional 5 minutes (depending on thickness of fish), until you still see pink in the center.

Serve immediately.