Stu put a whole salmon on the BBQ for lunch with friends. Here’s how he did it:
1 whole salmon, scaled, with guts removed
Freshly ground pepper
6-10 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes (before you’re ready to use)
1 onion, cut in half horizontally
Mix of fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, other herbs if you wish
Thinly sliced lemons (or oranges or other citrus)
Thinly sliced onions (any type)
Fire up the bbq, with coals arranged for direct grilling.
Prepare the fish: drizzle the cavity generously with olive oil, then with salt and pepper.
Stuff the cavity with the ‘stuffing.’ Then insert the skewers to hold the flaps of skin together. Depending on the size of the fish, you may want to also use string to keep the flaps closed.
Using a very sharp knife, make long, 1/4-inch-deep diagonal slashes at 2-inch intervals on both sides of fish. Rub the exterior of the fish with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. If you have stuffing left over, tuck it into the slits. Season the head and tail as well if you have fish aficionados as guests—they will enjoy those!
Check the size of the fish and the size of your grill. After you have stuffed the fish, you may need to cut it in pieces to fit it on the grill.
Brush the hot grill with the onion halves (dipped in vegetable oil).
Place the fish on the grill. Cook, undisturbed and uncovered, until undersides are charred and flesh along gills on undersides turns opaque, 5 to 7 minutes or longer.
Turn fish with 2 large spatulas. If they stick, wait a few seconds until skin sears enough to release cleanly. Grill on other side until charred and fish are just cooked through and opaque, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Alternatively, add olive oil to foil and grill the fish on the foil.
If possible, have a Therma-pen or other instant-read thermometer handy to check the fish for doneness.
The entire cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fish.
Serve fish with lemon quarters and a sauce, if desired.
Put the fish on a platter and allow guests to peel back the skin and serve themselves.
Mustard Dill Sauce
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP apple cider or white vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
3 TBSP chopped fresh dill (the finer, the better; you could whirl the dill in the processor before you begin the process).
Combine first four ingredients in a food processor; slowly add oil until thick. Fold in the dill at end.
Wondering about which wine? Both the 2017 Chardonnay and 2017 Riesling were magic but the 2016 Cabernet would have been a happy partner also.