After a hot day full of fast rapids and icy water, the smell of marinated fresh salmon grilling is enough to make every rafter hungry as a bear. On the float trips, everything must be packed in -- and packed out. But just because the recipe for these fillets was planned around campfire cooking doesn’t mean they don’t taste just as wonderful on the patio.
- Salmon Fillets - 6, skin on
- Italian Dressing - one, 8-ounce bottle
- Vegetable Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 6 tablespoons
- Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
- Blanched Almonds - 1 cup, chopped
- Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
- Lemon Juice - 1/2 cup
- Hot Sauce - 2 dashes (or to taste)
- Dry white wine - 1/4 cup
Marinate the salmon fillets in the salad dressing for 20 to 30 minutes. Prepare a grill for direct heat cooking: Light a charcoal grill and let the coals burn until covered with light grey ash. Or, light a gas grill according to manufacturer’s directions. Place the cooking grate on top and let it heat for a minute or two until hot.
Drain the fillets. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Place on the hot grate, skin-side down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the fillets have with grill marks and the part against the grill begins to pale. Turn. Gently pull away the skin while the fillets cook another 3 to 4 minutes. The actual cooking time will vary with the thickness of the fillets; the fish will change color from dark to pale pink as it cooks.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Reduce heat to medium and saute until the garlic is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, hot sauce, and wine. Stir to combine and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve: Place a fillet on each plate and top with the almond sauce.
Note: During the float trips, the salmon are marinated while the coals heat. As they cook, they are taken off and layered with the sauce in a heavy cast iron Dutch oven to keep them hot while the remaining fillets are cooked.