Salmon Grilled on Romaine Lettuce
I know it sounds a little crazy...
Perfect bbq salmon cooked on romaine lettuce
What is more perfect on the bbq than salmon? I’m not even sure.
Salmon just lends itself so well to a variety of cooking methods and flavors, and a barbeque provides a fantastic way to cook this wonderful fish. Salmon done on the barbeque is very juicy and flavorful because the high heat on a barbeque seals the outside of the fish and cooks it evenly and quickly, meaning that more of the natural juices remain.
The only tricky part about cooking salmon on the barbeque is determining exactly when it is done. It should be opaque all the way through, especially at its thickest point; if it is still translucent at all, it isn’t cooked. You will learn what the optimal grilling time is on your own barbeque through a little experimentation.
This recipe has its origins on both the east and west coasts of North America, where salmon is plentiful and is sometimes cooked on top of seaweed. Not living on the coast means having to find an alternative to seaweed, and romaine lettuce does the trick nicely. And, since you are probably whipping up a Caesar salad tonight anyway, you now have a use for the tough outer leaves of the romaine.
Ready? Let's get cooking...
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Just a few simple, fresh ingredients are needed to make this salmon recipe
- 2 salmon fillets, 6 or 7 ounces each
- 4 romaine leaves, the tougher the better
- several fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 1 lemon sliced into 8 thin slices
What can you do with the tough outer leaves from a head of romaine? Now you know!
On goes the salmon...now, close the lid. No peeking while it cooks
Easy step-by-step instructions
- Tear or cut the tough outer leaves from a head of romaine. It is best if the leaves don’t have large tears or holes in them, but you will be overlapping them on the grill, so they don’t need to be in perfect shape. Rinse under cold running water and leave the water on them.
- Rinse your salmon fillets under cold water. Rinse the basil leaves, and slice the lemon into 8 thin slices.
- Place the basil leaves along the length of each piece of salmon, overlapping them slightly, then top with the lemon slices, overlapping them slightly too if you have to.
- If using gas, preheat the grill to 500°F then reduce heat to medium. If grilling with charcoal, wait until the coals turn gray.
- Place the romaine leaves on the pre-heated grill, overlapping them to create a nice bed of lettuce for the salmon. Place the salmon fillets on top of the lettuce toward the center, being careful not to let the lemons slide off.
- Close the lid and keep it closed for the duration so the steam and heat do not escape. Cook for about 15 minutes (exact time will depend on the thickness of the fish and the temperature of your grill). I usually check it at about the 12 minute mark, and I know it is done when the edges of the lemons are just starting to turn a little brown. The edges of the lettuce may be burnt; don't worry as this is normal.
- Remove the salmon from the lettuce by sliding a long barbeque spatula lengthwise under the salmon. Most of the skin will probably remain stuck to the lettuce.
For more great salmon recipes...
Tips for making this really different salmon recipe
- Prior to lighting your grill, you may want to spray or brush on a little oil to make cleanup even easier.
- For this recipe, the idea is to keep everything a little wet; the lettuce as well as the salmon. This helps create steam inside the barbeque that helps cooks the fish and keeps it moist and juicy. Don't dry the romaine leaves after you wash them...just leave the water on them.
Pinot Noir is always fabulous with grilled salmon, but this dish also works very well with Sauvignon Blanc because of the lemon.
Wild Atlantic Salmon Nutrition figures (other types of salmon vary)
|Serving size: 6 ounces|
|Calories from Fat||90|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 10 g||15%|
|Protein 33 g||66%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|