Monday, February 16, 2009

Rub Conversion

I've been slow to jump on the rub bandwagon, generally preferring the fresh flavors of foods to dominate and not usually being a lighthouse customer, but a few months ago Sam and Naomi gifted me with a bottle of Penzey's Northwoods Fire seasoning and last night I was looking for something a little novel to do with my fresh Coho salmon.

I searched and found an interesting-sounding recipe for Salmon Steak with Orange-Balsamic Glaze (did I mention that I had two oranges left from the ones Cookiecrumb and Cranky gave me?) but the comments were just so-so. Then, I had the idea of first rubbing the salmon with the Northwoods Fire before marinating it as described in the recipe. Oh, baby, was this ever a hit! The Northwoods Fire gave it a little heat, the marinade mellowed and sweetened the blaze, and the grill did the rest. Served with some bright green broccoli and, yes, those are baked potato chips you see on the plate (not homemade), it was a major feast.

Reluctantly Rubbed Salmon

I used a fillet of salmon rather than a steak and it worked fine.

1 nice piece of wild Coho salmon, either steak or fillet
Penzey's Northwoods Fire Seasoning* to taste - I used a light rub, just enough to cover all sides.
1/4 cup orange juice and the zest from the orange
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary (use less of the dried kind)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray

Rub the salmon on both sides (mine had the skin still on) with the Northwoods Fire. Let it stand while you combine all the other ingredients except the cooking spray in a zip top plastic baggie or a pan. Add the salmon and smoosh it around until all sides are in contact with the marinade.

The original recipe calls for marinating an hour in the fridge but I'm impatient and my salmon was nicely fresh so I just left it on the counter for about 15-20 minutes while I set the table, fed the dog and heated the Jenn-Air grill (I'm sure a grill pan would work great, too) and sprayed it with the cooking spray.

Remove the salmon from the marinade, drain it briefly and slap it on the hot grill, skin side down first. Cook for about five minutes, then flip and the skin should peel right off in a single sheet. You can discard it or save it for 'cracklings.' Continue grilling to desired doneness; one nice thing about a fillet is that one side is thicker than the other so I can give My Beloved his favored seared-on-the-outside-rare-on-the-inside piece at the same time as I get my cooked-through-but-still-moist portion.

This dish was so delicious that I'll be rubbing all kinds of meats from now on! That sounds vaguely naughty, doesn't it? Oh, well, converts are always the most intense believers, aren't they?

*The Northwoods Fire is a blend of paprika and hotter peppers, salt, yadda, so you could approximate it if you prefer, but I'd recommend just getting this lovely stuff from Penzey's.

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Blogger Michelle said...

YUM. This sounds wonderful! I love Penzey's too (though I'm like you and usually stick to the spices themselves instead of the blends). What a great idea to combine the two recipes! But nothing beats that name: Reluctantly rubbed salmon! I love it!

Monday, February 16, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

So happy to hear all the great uses you've been getting from the oranges. There are more! (You, too, Michelle.)
You made a happy discovery. Good.

Monday, February 16, 2009  
Anonymous Evil Empress said...

Where can I find Penzey's spices? I tried the Bicentennial blend at a group dinner, and have been searching in stores ever since...

Monday, February 16, 2009  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

This sounds fabulous! My mouth is watering.

Monday, February 16, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Michelle, it just seemed apt!

Cookiecrumb, that's the fun of cooking, isn't it?

Evil Empress, you can buy them direct online at, get on their catalogue mailing list or one of their stores is in Menlo Park, if you are looking for a little drive south.

Anna, I know the feeling!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009  

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