With grilling season upon us, we’ll all be looking for new and delicious ways to feed a crowd. So I want to share one of my favorites — a center-cut salmon fillet.
All salmon grills up wonderfully, but center-cut fillets are particularly great when feeding larger groups. Because these fillets tend to have a uniform thickness, they cook up evenly (and are harder to overcook). And that means all your guests can eat at the same time. And by all, I mean a lot. Larger fillets can feed upward of 10 people. They also happen to look pretty impressive on a platter.
When buying salmon fillets, I opt for skin-on. The skin adds flavor and protects the delicate fish during grilling. The skin also gives you a nifty way to remove the fish from the grill with no fear of sticking. Start by having your fishmonger cut the skin from the fillet, then place the fillet back on the skin before wrapping it.
When ready to cook, you simply set the skin on the grill, then place the salmon on top of it. The salmon even could be cut into individual portions before being placed on the skin. Then, just cook as directed and remove from the grill (lifting it off the skin) using a spatula.
I prefer wild salmon to farm-raised, but there are some good sustainable farm-raised options, too. The trick is to smell the fish. If it smells briny and clean, it is fresh. If it has any “fishy” or ammonia smell, do not buy it. I once bought a piece of fish that had a slight odor when raw, and as I cooked it, it turned my whole backyard into a stink bomb! The moral of the story is that you should not cook fish that is past its prime.