Salmon Fish: Recipe for Grilled Salmon with Fresh Thyme

by Giuliano Hazan on July 20, 2010

Photo by Dana Gallagher

Italians usually buy local whenever possible, particularly when it comes to fish. Salmon is not native to Italy so it’s rarely seen on restaurant menus and tends to be one of the least popular fishes at the market.  It’s unfortunate because salmon lends itself perfectly to the Italian style of preparation: a simple cooking method with a light-handed use of flavors and herbs.  Salmon’s rich, almost unctuous flavor make herbs an excellent accompaniment for it.  I like poaching salmon and serving it with a savory green sauce of parsley, capers, anchovies and olive oil.  I also often teach it baked in a foil with fresh tomatoes, parsley and oregano, which I’ve dubbed “Aromatic Salmon in a Pouch”.  But most often I grill it and top it with a parsley, thyme, lemon and olive oil sauce.  Michela, our six-year old daughter, loves “salmon fish” as she calls it, and this is one of her favorite dishes.  It is so simple, and yet so satisfying.  I coat the salmon with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with fine dry breadcrumbs before grilling it.  It gives it a tender crust while keeping the inside moist.  To make the sauce, I first whisk the salt and lemon juice together to dissolve the salt, then add the herbs and olive oil.  It’s a dish Lael and I enjoy with a young, fruity red wine, such as a Dolcetto, a Valpolicella, or a Morellino di Scansano.  What are some of your favorite ways to prepare salmon?

Grilled Salmon with Thyme and Parsley Sauce

(From How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


2 pounds salmon fillet

2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs

1.  Preheat a charcoal or gas grill.

2.  Put the lemon juice with 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.  Mix together thoroughly, with a small whisk or a fork, until the salt has dissolved.  Chop the parsley and thyme and add it to the bowl.  Whisk in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil until emulsified

3.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and coat it with the breadcrumbs.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil on the salmon and place it on the grill.  Cook the fish for a total of about 5 minutes per inch of thickness, turning the fillets halfway through the cooking time.  When salmon is done it should flake but still be somewhat pink in the center.  Transfer to a serving platter, pour the sauce over it and serve at once.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Nisrine November 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Beautifully executed salmon. Can’t get any better than this. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

Giuliano Hazan July 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for your comment and all your recipe ideas, Cindy. I like the foil tip. We took a trip to Alaska a few years back and went salmon fishing in the Copper River. It was our then 9-year old daughter Gabriella who caught the first fish! Lael also caught one but sad to say, I didn’t get any. We grilled and ate the fish right there on the river bank and it was amazing. Can’t wait to go back and do it again!

Cindy Ruth July 24, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I’ll give this recipe a try. Sounds great. Since I live in Alaska and fish a lot, I’m always looking for new ways to fix salmon. Our freezer is full of it, and we eat it once or twice a week. I grill it a lot. We vacuum-pack and freeze ours with the skin on, so I usually make a little foil tray and place the salmon skin-side down on the tray. I then top it with a variety of marinades/sauces. One night it might be peach jam thinned with a little soy sauce and dijon mustard. Or orange or lemon juice, dijon, and a little maple syrup. Sometimes a light layer of pesto topped with bread crumbs mixed with grated parmesan. Another favorite is a recipe where the fish is marinated in orange juice and soy sauce, grilled, then topped with a relish of orange segments, red bell pepper, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Oh, and I forgot to mention, when you cook it on the foil like I’ve mentioned, when it’s done, you just slide your spatula between the flesh and the skin. The skin sticks to the foil and the fish is on the spatula ready to plate. Clean and simple. It’s Sockeye (red) salmon season right now, soon to be Coho (silver) season. We’ll be out on the boat fishing next weekend.

Aggie July 21, 2010 at 7:59 am

I love seeing salmon prepared simply like this. The herb sauce sounds delicious! such a healthy dish!

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