Summer is a great time for grilled wild salmon. My favorites include king (chinook), silver (coho), or red (sockeye)—if they are fresh, they all taste fabulous. Salmon fillets should appear moist, the red-orange flesh should be intact (not cracked), and the fish should smell like the sea—it should not smell fishy. I prefer fillets with the skin for grilling. If you are buying a whole salmon, look at the eyes—they should be moist and plump.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Marinating Time: 5 minutes

Grilling Time: 8-10 minutes

Serves: 4

1.5 to 2 pounds salmon fillet (likely skin covering one side)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
½ teaspoon paprika
Garnish: 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed or parsley and 4 lemon wedges

Preheat grill to 450° (F).
Rinse salmon fillets in cold water. Marinate in a bowl with lemon juice for 5-10 minutes. Lay fillet skin side down on a plate, and sprinkle sea salt, black pepper, dill weed, and paprika over the fillet.

Grill salmon fillet initially skin side down for 6 minutes. To turn, separate the skin from the meat with a metal spatula. Flip the fillet, keeping the skin on the grill and placing the flesh over the skin. Grill another 2-4 minutes until cooked.

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145° (F), which is medium done. Most chefs prefer 125-130° (F), with the center a bit translucent and it will flake easily, as it is more moist and tender. Whichever temperature you choose, don’t overcook past 145° (F) or the fish becomes dry.

To serve, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges.


Steven Masley, MD