Seems simple, right? Don’t be fooled. Next comes the hardest and most essential part of my recipe. It is not an ingredient, but technique: to experience the sacred deliciousness of fresh salmon, impossibly moist, and perfect, you just not overcook it. This is really hard.
Everybody overcooks fish. That changes the flavors of its delicate oils and the texture. Done wrong, fish is flaky and bitter. People eat so much like this, they become accustomed. It is the norm. They don’t know what they are missing. Done right, grilled fresh salmon’s texture is closer to custard, its flavor mild, sweet, and faintly briny.
I can’t give you a cooking time once you have the fish on the grill, because every fish is a different size, but the key is to be vigilant. Err on the side of rawness. Also, for the fish to taste most delicious, you have to be the right kind of hungry. You should be hungry the way you only get in May, on a day when the sun feels warm and you can smell sap, and teenagers skateboard by with no coats on. It should have been months since you last had a piece of salmon. You’ll know it’s right, because you’ll smell your neighbors grilling, too, for the first time since last year.
You’ll want to grill some asparagus, too. And set a pan of rice going on the stove.
You might stand at the grill in flip-flops on grass that isn’t quite greened up. (you are free to do this with a beer in your hand.) Check the fish just about the time you start to notice your feet are cold, because even though it’s sunny, there is still a chill. If you’ve hit it right, you can tell, because when you take a fork and slip it between the layers of flesh, you will see that in the center of the fish it is not quite done and is instead just slightly translucent. With a long spatula, separate the fish from the skin on the grill. Place it on a warm plate. Serve immediately.