The California Department of Fish and Game offers open salmon season in four blocks of time between mid-May and the first week of September. We are in the third run through Aug. 16. Even if you don’t catch a California native fish, salmon is quite plentiful and reasonably priced this time of year because of the abundance. We should take advantage of nature’s course and take some to the grill. Here’s one way to do it, paired with an award-winning local pinot noir.
Grilled Salmon With Mustard Glaze
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. finely grated ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 salmon fillets (skins on), 6 oz. each
On the side burner, melt the brown sugar, honey and buttery spread in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger. Let cool.
Thoroughly clean grate in the grill. Wipe down with a paper towel soaked in canola oil, and then preheat grill to medium heat.
Brush salmon with canola oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Coat the flesh of the salmon fillets with the brown sugar mixture. Grill for about 6 to 8 minutes to medium doneness, where the flesh is starting to firm up but has not yet started to flake. Turn once and grill flesh side down for just a few minutes to pick up grill marks. Turn them back over, flesh side up, and carefully remove to platter by running a spatula between the skin and the flesh. Serve warm.
If you are not confident to flip them flesh side down on your grill, just let them go (lid closed) until the flesh begins to flake, and then carefully remove to platter by running a spatula between the skin and the flesh.
Pair this with Lucas & Lewellen’s 2014 Santa Maria Valley Goodchild High 9 Vineyard Pinot Noir. This pinot isn't special because it just scored a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. It isn't special because it took a 93-point score in the Tasting Panel. It's special because it is a truly gorgeous wine, ethereal in quality, deep and rich with a proper alignment of acidity and weight, and natural flavors of crushed strawberries and dried roses.
This is a limited vintage from the highest 9-acre block of the Goodchild Vineyard, an outstanding location to grow the superior clone 667. It was aged sur lees in Francois Ferrar oak barrels bringing forth the natural flavors of bright red fruit with smooth tannins and a lingering finish.