New Year’s Day has come and passed,
New resolutions have been vowed and won’t last.
But noble and true as the dawning sun,
The football playoffs have only just begun.
To get you ready for the gridiron excitement, we continue our Winter Game Day series with Spice-Rubbed Grilled Salmon with Spicy Cucumber Salsa. This is a perfect dish when you want to elevate the game day meal above that of handheld food to that of a more sophisticated and non-barbaric nature. Barbarianism certainly has its place, but for now we will leave it in the stadium stands behind the goalposts.
The spice rub for the salmon is a combination of coriander, cumin, dill, yellow-mustard, fennel, salt, pepper, and sugar. Use whole seeds for maximum flavor, toasting them until aromatic, then grinding them to mix with salt, pepper, and sugar. This rub is applied thoroughly to the flesh side of the salmon and allowed to sit for at least 30 minutes to permeate throughout. To balance the spice of the rub, the cucumber salsa provides refreshing zest and sparkle to the salmon. This savory meal will anchor the game day festivities, leaving plenty of time for finger food revelry at halftime. So fire up the grill and setup the decorations and fanfare – this is the Winter Game Day series.
Spice-Rubbed Grilled Salmon Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon each whole coriander, cumin, dill, and yellow-mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 whole four-pound side of salmon, skin on, small bones and excess fat removed
- Olive oil
Spicy Cucumber Salsa
- 2 seedless cucumbers (2 pounds)
- 2 medium shallots, peeled and trimmed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh mint, chopped medium fine
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Spice-Rubbed Grilled Salmon Directions
- Combine all seeds in a skillet over medium heat; toast, shaking pan, until aromatic, 4 to 6 minutes. Grind seeds coarsely in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl; add salt, pepper, and sugar.
- Rub spice mixture into flesh side of salmon. Let stand 30 minutes; if not grilling right away, refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 days. Let salmon come to room temperature before grilling.
- Heat grill to hot; the rack should be very hot. Brush both sides of salmon and hot rack with oil. Grill salmon (if using a gas grill, close lid while cooking), flesh side down, until firm and slightly charred, 4 to 8 minutes. Carefully turn salmon using 2 large spatulas. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, or until mostly opaque but slightly translucent and cooked through. Serve with cucumber salsa.
Spicy Cucumber Salsa
- Peel cucumbers in strips for a striped effect. Cut in half lengthwise; remove any seeds. Cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices.
- Combine cucumbers, shallots, jalapeno, and mint. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil until combined. Pour over cucumbers, and toss gently to combine. Serve.
Taken from MarthaStewart.com