Grilled Spiced King Salmon #WildAlaskaFlavor #CookItFrozen

A whole side of king salmon sat in the freezer for weeks. David, my husband, kept asking about when I would blog about it, which meant “when do I get to eat it?” The grand fillet was nearly three feet long and almost a foot wide in the middle. It overshadowed everything else in the freezer. I wondered if a fillet as large as this could be grilled from frozen? I haven’t thawed fish before cooking since I discovered  Wild Alaska Seafood’s Cook It Frozen website a few months back.

On any day, I can have boneless fish from the freezer cooked and ready to serve in 30 minutes. What an advantage to be able to avoid thawing fish: no worries about possible cross contamination from moisture leaking from the package, no odors lingering the the fridge. I’ve tried the technique with fillets of salmon, pollack, cod, and tilapia. I started blogging about cooking frozen fish in this post (in which I include more step-by-step visuals). I knew that the King fillet wouldn’t be done in 30 minutes, and I wanted to grill it rather than roast it.

Alaska King Salmon and Sustainability
In the U.S., 96% of salmon labeled as “wild” comes from Alaska, according to Wild Alaska Flavor. Because it’s from Alaska, and the sustainable fish management and harvesting methods are written in the state’s constitution, king salmon is a “Best Choice” seafood. Biologists monitor Alaska’s rivers, streams, and lakes to ensure that numbers of salmon remain at healthy levels for fishing. Sustainable King (or Chinook salmon) is the largest among the five types of Alaska salmon. Its thick, deep coral flesh makes it well-suited for grilling.
Rinse fillet under running water and pat dry.
Brush both sides of salmon with oil.

As I set about to grill my Alaska salmon, I first rinsed the ice glaze from the fish. This technique is consistent for all cook-from-frozen techniques for raw fish–whether the cooking method is grilling, roasting, broiling, poaching, pan searing, or steaming. Grilling frozen fish involves a specific (but easy) method of wrapping the fish in aluminum foil. The king salmon was so wide in the middle, the foil didn’t cover the fish. I had to modify the wrapping technique.

King salmon is too wide for the foil. 
Problem solved–extra piece of foil added on top.

Imparting flavor was my next priority. I used a Tandoori Spice, eggless sandwich spread (remember, I’m watching my cholesterol), all-purpose herb seasoning and sherry vinegar. I mixed these ingredients into a paste to brush on to the salmon (only on one side). 

Since my grill is a small charcoal grill, I don’t have the luxury of knowing the temperature when I’m grilling. (I’ll know next grilling season, though, as I have my eye on a Weber charcoal grill with a temperature gauge.) I grilled the fish on one side for 20 minutes, turned it over (wearing oven mitts) and grilled it on the flesh side for another 20 minutes. 
It was a workout, grilling the salmon, but my family and I ate like kings (and a queen) for three days. My husband was satisfied but is now eyeing the side of coho salmon in the freezer. 

Disclosure: An affiliate company of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute provided the salmon reviewed in this post. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Recipe: Grilled Spiced King Salmon (Serves 7-10, depending on size of fillet)
4 tablespoons egg-free sandwich spread
1 tablespoon Tandoori seasoning (with salt included)
2 tablespoons all-purpose herb seasoning
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 7-10 pound side of king salmon or sliced fillets 
Non-stick cooking spray

  1. Prepare the grill. If your grill has temperature controls, set heat at 400 degrees. (Get someone to watch the grill while you go inside to prepare the salmon.)
  2. In a small mixing dish, add sandwich spread, Tandoori seasoning, herb seasoning, and sherry vinegar. Mix to combine ingredients. Set aside. 
  3. Take salmon from freezer and rinse off the ice glaze under cold-running tap water.
  4. Dry salmon with clean towel or paper towels (keep the paper towel moving so it won’t stick to the salmon). Brush on the seasoning, covering flesh side only.
  5. Tear off a piece of extra-wide foil as long as the salmon. There should be extra inches of foil with which to wrap the salmon. Spray dull side of foil with non-stick vegetable spray. Lay salmon on foil and bring both sides of foil up over salmon to resemble a tent. Fold foil over salmon and wrap it (but not too tight). Close the foil at both ends of the salmon (wrapping it like the ends of a gift box). If your foil is not wide to create a tent above the salmon, then fold the foil ends until they meet and add an extra layer of foil on top (see photos). 
  6. Place salmon skin side down on the hot grill and close top. Grill for 15-20 minutes (depending on desired doneness). Open top and, wearing oven mitts or grilling gloves, turn the salmon over onto the flesh side and grill for another 15-20 minutes. 
  7. Remove salmon from grill and place on baking sheet skin side down. Unwrap and check the salmon. If the salmon needs more browning, put baking sheet with unwrapped salmon in oven and broil for one-two minutes. Watch fish to avoid burning. 
  8. Remove salmon from oven, carefully transfer to a serving platter, slice (if you grilled a side of salmon), and serve. 

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