Grilled Salmon, Corn, & Tomato Salad
Fire up the barbecue! This Grilled Salmon, Corn and Tomato Salad features tender salmon, fresh veggies, and a crispy topping.
A Kodachrome Kind of Salad
Summertime is approaching and that means salad season! While plopping a cooked piece of meat on top of some greens can qualify as lunch or dinner, I like salads to be a little more interesting, delicious, and colorful. Especially colorful, like Kodachrome.
Long ago in a galaxy far away, people used to invite friends over for dinner and a living room slide show of their latest vacation photos. Kodachrome 64 was the popular Kodak slide film for cameras in the pre-camera phone, pre-DSLR age. This film produced sharp and saturated images that appeared in places like National Geographic magazine, the town cinema, and home slide projectors.
If you are anywhere near my age, you will recall these slides and even may have had the job of loading them into the projector wheel. Remember you had to put those slides in upside-down! I kind of geeked out reading about Kodachrome’s history and appeal.
Some may roll their eyes at the thought of sitting through a friend’s monologue describing each stop on their vacation, but the whirring projector fan, clicking slides, and vividly colored images made it extra fun to me. Scrolling through someone’s vacay photos on their Facebook page isn’t the same experience.
Although Kodak's film and slides are no longer available, their memory and allure live on. Commercially sold camera presets can almost mimic the look. Or you can enjoy some tonally rich colors by making a salad like this one.
Eating the Rainbow
This salad is rainbow bright with yellow corn, red tomatoes, purple onion, and green parsley. Eating an array of different colored fruits and vegetables provides us with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Plus, it’s pretty.
It’s easy to substitute other vegetables, hopefully equally colorful, for the ones listed in this recipe. Veggies provide not only color but also fiber and crunch to an otherwise boring salad. And a fresh counterpoint to any cooked meat or seafood.
Don’t be afraid to put a piece of fish on the barbecue. Some fish is better if baked or pan-fried, but salmon was made for the grill. It’s thick, it’s meaty, and it doesn’t fall apart.
Hot and fast, or low and slow, are both good ideas for cooking meat. In the case of salmon, hot and fast is the way to go. A 450 F to 500 F degree grill will give you perfectly cooked salmon in just under 10 minutes.
Crispy Salmon Skin
Now this will either totally excite you or completely freak you out: crispy salmon skin. When you bake salmon skin-side down, it usually gets soggy because of the pan juices and you wind up scraping it off before eating the fish. Admittedly, just a little gross.
BUT! If you grill salmon skin-side down, that skin gets deliciously crispy and crunchy. Like pork rind and potato chip crunch level. It's uncommonly good.
- Make sure your grill is HOT. This ensures that the salmon cooks relatively quickly and that the skin will crisp up. Don’t be afraid of the heat.
- Flipping a whole salmon fillet on a hot barbecue was daunting to me, so I cut the fillet in half crosswise to make two equal-size squarish pieces. It worked!
- Not everyone in your household will appreciate the crispy salmon skin. Leave it off and instead offer it on the side as an optional topping. Good news: you will probably have it all to yourself.
Many thanks go to Diane Morrisey for the salad inspiration and to Foodie Crush for her detailed description of how to perfectly grill salmon. Kodak slides photo credit goes to Nathan Anderson on Unsplash.Print
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dry Italian Seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large salmon fillet (about 1 ½ lb.)
- 2 cups corn kernels (canned or boiled fresh ears)
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 4 cups baby spinach
- Add the dressing ingredients to a half-pint size mason jar. Cover and shake to combine thoroughly.
- Lay the salmon on a baking sheet and pour a little less than half the dressing over the salmon and spread evenly. Save the other half of the dressing for the salad. Allow the salmon to marinate while you mix the salad and preheat the grill.
- Combine the corn, tomatoes, onion, and parsley in a medium bowl. Pour the remaining dressing over all and gently mix to combine. Set aside.
- Prep the grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat at the highest temperature.
- Place the salmon fillet directly on the grill grates once the temperature has reached 450 to 500 F. Close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, undisturbed. Flip the salmon over. You should be able to cleanly lift off the salmon skin. It will be crispy on one side and still soft on the side that was touching the salmon flesh. Place the non-crispy side down on the grill grates. Close the lid and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes.
- Don’t overcook your fish! Pull the salmon off the grill when the temp reads 130 F then transfer it to a clean baking sheet and allow it to rest. The internal temperature will continue to rise to 145 F and it will be done. At this point, you can cut the salmon into serving-size portions.
- Continue cooking the salmon skin if it isn’t completely crispy yet, otherwise transfer it to a platter or baking sheet. Cut or crumble the crispy salmon skin into bite-size pieces.
- To assemble the salad, place the spinach on a large serving platter. Spoon the tomato corn mixture over the spinach. Nestle the salmon fillets on top of everything (make it pretty if you’d like). Top with crispy salmon skin.