This luscious Grilled King Salmon with Plum Sauce is made with rich and meaty King salmon fillets and fresh plum sauce!
This post is sponsored by Regal New Zealand King Salmon, but as always, all opinions are my own.
How do you feel about grilling fish? Do you adore the smoky, extra-deliciousness, but dread the grilling part? Do you watch your fish nervously, and hold your breath to make sure that it doesn’t fall to its doom down into the charcoal pit? I don’t– not normally, that is. Why not? Well, partly because it’s the husband manning the grill– and I trust his fish-flipping skills, and partly because grilling fish is easy if your grill plates are clean.
Recently, however, I was staring as two gorgeous– GORGEOUS– fillets of thick, marbled, prized, luxurious King salmon sat on my grill– and I felt fear in my heart. Suddenly the grill seemed a little scarier, and the fillets a little too delicate– and I wanted reassurance that my fish would NOT fall into the grill. What did I do? What can you do, if you’ve got an especially pretty fillet to grill? Keep reading, and find out! Plus, find out how to make King salmon, a few plums, and a handful of other ingredients into a spectacular, Date-Night worthy meal!
Grilling with a Fish Basket
How did I ease my worried mind, and keep my fish safe and sound on the grill? I used a fish basket! What is a fish basket? A fish basket (or ‘grilling basket’) is a metal ‘basket’ with a long handle. They’re inexpensive, and will hold your fish up against the grill, without it actually touching the grill grates. These baskets are fabulous for fillets– particularly delicate fillets– because when it’s time to flip your fish, you just flip over the entire basket. (Keep in mind– if your basket handle isn’t insulated– wear a heat resistant glove!)
For the record, King salmon is not a ‘particularly delicate’ fish– but it is a high-quality, more luxurious fillet, and losing even a little corner of the fish on a grill would be a minor tragedy.
Buying King Salmon
I’ve been eating plates of salmon after salmon after salmon this summer, and one thing that’s struck me is how different the various kinds of salmon are– in flavor, in color, and in thickness. I’ve eaten Pink salmon (a thinner, pale pink fillet that I like for weeknight dinners), Sockeye salmon (a rich, flavorful dark red salmon that I love), and also– the prized and sought-after salmon– King salmon.
Have you tried King salmon (or Chinook salmon) before? It’s the largest species of salmon, has more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than any other species of salmon, has a buttery and rich flavor, and meat that melts in your mouth. This summer, I had the chance to try out some King salmon from Regal New Zealand King Salmon.
Regal’s Marlborough King Salmon is high-quality seafood at its best! Their gorgeous and healthy King salmon are farm-raised in the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand. If you normally avoid farm-raised salmon, you should know that the New Zealand farm fisheries do not have the same bad reputation or problems that farmed Atlantic salmon fisheries have. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Regal’s sustainable seafood practices are eco-friendly and sustainable, have earned the Best Aquaculture Practices certification from the Global Aquaculture Alliance, and New Zealand farmed salmon is considered a ‘Best Choice’ by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. Plus, it is DELICIOUS!!!
King salmon– the fattiest and most sought-after type of salmon– can sometimes be hard to find! Where can you find it? This summer, look for Regal’s King Salmon in the frozen food section at Costco! They’ll be available at Costcos all across the Northeastern United States– particularly in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Not sure where the closest Costco is? Try using their store finder.
Making Grilled King Salmon with Plum Sauce
To make Grilled King Salmon with Plum Sauce, you’ll need a grill (obviously) and a fish basket (optional, but recommended).* Heat the grill, with the fish basket inside, while you get everything else ready.
First, pit and dice about five plums. Sauté the plums for a few minutes in olive oil, and they’ll start to fall apart. Then, add some soy sauce and cayenne, and keep cooking until your sauce starts to thicken. Lower the heat, add a little rice vinegar, and then set your sauce aside.
Take your (now thawed) King salmon fillets, and pat them dry. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and set them carefully in the fish basket. (I’ve said this before, but it’s worth mentioning again– if your fish basket does not have an insulated handle, wear heat-resistant gloves before grabbing onto the handle!) Grill your salmon fillets for 4-5 minutes per side, until the salmon flesh has just finished turned opaque and pink.** Serve your decadent, grilled and meaty King salmon fillets with the plum sauce, and enjoy!
*A Note on Grilling Fish without a Fish Basket: No fish basket? That’s okay! The most important thing to remember is to start out with a clean grill plate! Read more tips on grilling fish here.
**Also Note: This recipe is written for King salmon, which tends to be very thick. If you’re using a thinner piece of salmon– reduce the cook time to 3-4 minutes per side.
Grilled King Salmon with Plum Sauce
- 1 TB olive oil
- 5 plums (red or black), pitted and diced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 TB rice vinegar
Grilled King Salmon:
- 2 King salmon fillets (~7oz each) Regal New Zealand King Salmon recommended
- pinch salt, pepper
- grill (charcoal or gas)
- fish basket (recommended, but optional)
- heat-proof gloves (if your fish basket does not have an insulated handle)
Preheat grill and fish basket until they're both very hot.
While grill heats up, heat the olive oil on medium-high in a sauté pan. When the oil is hot, and ripples when swirled around the pan, add the plums and stir with a wooden spoon. Sauté about 2 minutes, until the plums soften.
Add the soy sauce and cayenne, and continue sautéing for another 2 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat to low, and add the vinegar. Remove the sauce from heat, and cover the pan to keep the sauce warm while you grill the salmon.
Pat salmon dry. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Carefully open the hot fish basket, using heat proof gloves if your basket doesn't have an insulated handle, and set salmon inside the basket.
Grill the salmon 4-5 minutes, skin side down, then flip the basket. Grill the salmon for about 4 more minutes, until the salmon's translucent pink flesh has just barely turned pale pink. (If you're concerned about overcooking your salmon, you can leave the grill lid off, and wait until the flesh has turned cooked through about halfway before flipping the fish. If you leave the lid off, take care to stand back from the grill, since the oil dripping off this extra-oily fish can cause the grill to flame up.)
Remove salmon from the basket, and serve immediately with the plum sauce.
*A Note on Cook Time: This recipe is specifically written for thick King salmon fillets. For thinner fillets of Atlantic, pink, or other salmon-- reduce cook time to 3-4 minutes.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.