Salmon 101: Don’t laugh, but I had no idea it was so easy

Photo: Cindy Hudson

By Cindy Hudson

I really hate to parade my ignorance; however, I willingly do it to encourage other cooking neophytes who might be afraid of fish, too.

Well, obviously not afraid of fish, but the cooking/grilling/broiling/frying and whatever-the-heck-else you might do with fish.

After watching Chef Kurt at Michigan State University create the fabulous and delicious Trout Almondine, I was determined to stick my toe into the water of cooking.

And I also was inspired when I found myself shopping at the original American Spoon store in Petoskey. Have you heard about this amazing Michigan company?

American Spoon owner Justin Rashid had recently described to our Michigan State University Extension conference how the small Petoskey company has grown (now with five locations in Michigan) and prospered by using fresh Michigan farm-grown fruits to create their preserves and other products. Naturally, I had to check out the local store and loved the sample bar where I tried preserves and salsa combinations I had never even heard of before.

Spoils from Cindy’s visit to the American Spoon shop in Petoskey. Photo: Cindy Hudson

Of course, I bought several items. One of my favorites is their Red Haven Peach Preserves. That alone would be worth the drive to Petoskey (although it’s all available online, too)! But my real score was a jar of Apple Cider Grilling Sauce. The minute I tried it I knew I wanted to use this for my foray into cooking salmon. In fact, it’s billed right on the website as perfect for salmon fillets!

Next step: I bought some wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and yes, it was frozen (baby steps, people). Next time I will definitely head to the farmer’s market and get some fresh Michigan salmon.

The salmon awaits its saucy treatment. Photo: Cindy Hudson

After putting the thawed salmon (skin-side down) on a foil-lined cookie sheet that was drizzled with butter-flavored olive oil, I liberally spooned on the grilling sauce.

Don’t be shy with the grilling sauce–make sure the fillet is fully coated. Photo: Cindy Hudson

The oven was preheated to 375 degrees, and I popped the salmon in the oven for about 25 minutes. Served with greens and berries, it was a delightful dinner. My dad raved about it!

To round out the plate, consider pairing the fish and salad with a scoop of wild rice–also a native Great Lakes species! Photo: Cindy Hudson

Seriously — so tasty and so embarrassingly easy! If I can do it, anyone can. Let me know if you have other uber-easy ideas for me to try and I’ll give it a whirl.

Now if I can just get over my (also irrational) fear of using my gas grill, I can really branch out!

Don’t forget that Michigan Sea Grant has a cookbook to help get you started with some great recipes! Find the whitefish cookbook online in the Michigan Sea Grant bookstore.


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