Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Herb-Encrusted Grilled Salmon Recipe

Herb Encrusted Grilled Salmon found on KalynsKitchen.com
This might be the best grilled salmon I've ever had!

I hope you can tell from the photo how delicious this was, because it was one of the best tasting pieces of salmon I ever cooked. There's so much background in how I came up with the recipe, that I'm going to try hard not to ramble too much as I'm explaining it. First, I went to San Francisco, where I got to meet a few of my favorite bloggers and came home with a stash of new ingredients. I always have so many things bubbling around in my brain that I'm wanting to cook, that truthfully, the new ingredients were sitting in a basket on my kitchen counter for the longest time.

Then one day I had some salmon that I'd thawed out to cook for this month's Heart of the Matter, where Joanna and Ilva have declared that the theme should be heart-healthy grilling. Salmon is one of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids, so I knew grilled salmon would be perfect, but I wanted a way to cook it that was different from other grilled salmon recipes I'd made. That's when I spotted my basket of goodies on the counter. The creative cooking juices started flowing, and I used some of the Fantastic Fish Blend from Christine and some of the fennel pollen from Cookiecrumb to add a wonderful herby flavor to the salmon. The herbs were ground in a mortar and pestle and then mixed with some heart-healthy olive oil to coat the outside of the salmon. This turned out to be a grilled salmon recipe that was was easy to make, delicious, and heart-healthy as well, a complete winner all around.

If you don't have Fantastic Fish Blend or fennel pollen, I'll tell how you can substitute for them, so no worries. (But thanks again to Christine and Cookiecrumb for sharing these great ingredients with me.)

In the mortar and pestle combine Fish Blend, fennel pollen, lemon pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, use anything heavy to grind them together in a bowl.

Mix herb mixture with olive oil and rub on both sides of the salmon filets. Let the fish sit with the herb coating for at least ten minutes while the grill warms up.

Be very careful not to grill fish too long. The finished fish in my first photo was cooked just a bit over seven minutes. Fish should feel barely firm to the touch when it's done.

Herb-Encrusted Grilled Salmon
(Makes 2 servings, recipe can easily be doubled, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from her friends.)

2 salmon filets, thawed in refrigerator if frozen
1 T olive oil, plus more for oiling grill

Herb Mixture Ingredients:
1 generous T Claudia's Fantastic Fish Blend
(Fish blend is lemon basil, chives, dill, thyme, and dried celery leaves. To substitute, use equal parts dried basil, dried chives, dill weed, dried thyme, and celery seed.)
1/2 tsp. fennel pollen (to substitute, use ground fennel )
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Remove salmon from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. In mortar and pestle, grind together Fish Blend (or individual herbs), fennel pollen (or ground fennel), lemon pepper, and salt. Pick out any woody pieces that don't grind up, then add olive oil and mix together.

Rub fish on both sides with herb mixture, and let sit for at least ten minutes while you preheat gas or charcoal grill. Rub grill slats with a piece of paper towel dipped in olive oil (or use nonstick spray), then heat the grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for 3-4 seconds at that temperature.)

Place fish on grill at an angle, top side down, and cook until grill marks start to appear, about 2-3 minutes. Then rotate and cook 2-3 minutes more to get criss-cross marks. Turn fish carefully and cook 2-3 minutes on second side, or until fish feels just slightly firm to the touch, but not at all hard. Total cooking time will be under ten minutes, I cooked my salmon just over 7 minutes, and it was perfect. Fish should feel barely firm when it's done. Serve hot.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Fish grilled like this is a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. For phase one, this would taste great with Grilled Asparagus with Double Lemon and Parmesan and Cucumbers Caesar. For phase two or three you could switch one of the vegetables for Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad.

More Grilled Salmon to Keep Your Heart Healthy
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Warm Salmon and Asparagus Salad
Friday Night Grilled Salmon Two Ways
Greek Salmon Cooked in a Grill Pan
Grilled Salmon with Asian Dipping Sauce
Asian Style Marinated Grilled Salmon from Christine Cooks
Grilled Salmon with Avocado and Mango Salsa from Beyond Salmon
Grilled Salmon Teriyaki from English Patis
Grilled Salmon and Corn with Lime Butter Sauce from Kitchen Chickcounter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. some juices that started cooking, it both sounds and looks fantastic! Thanks for participating, I have to confess that I have only made one entry for this month and I'm going to post it tomorrow, the very last day!

  2. Oh yum! I've been trying to eat more fish because of all the benefits I hear, but I don't like the fishy aroma. Perhaps I can use herbs to mask it.

  3. Mmmhhh, this looks delicious!
    I was overjoyed when I found Wild Salmon from Alaska in the freezer of my little neighborhood grocery here in Vienna (I am allergic to some antibiotics and therefore cannot risk to eat farmed fish).

  4. super delicious!

    i am obsessed with fennel pollen, it gives such a magical flavor.

    i am growing my own fennel so i can have the pollen on hand!


    I am going to try your recipe soon.

  5. This looks absolutely amazing! My boyfriend and I love salmon, I can't wait to try this one.
    I love your blog, thanks for always sharing so many great recipes.

  6. Oh yummy. Kalyn I love salmon and actually bought some fresh Scandinavian salmon recently that I froze. The herbs must give this an awesome flavor!!

  7. We eat lots of grilled salmon, I love the flavors you used in this. And it looks wonderful, too!

  8. That looks SO good! I wish I had that for lunch:) Salmon is so good for you too! You can't go wrong!

  9. Never heard of fennel pollen, but the pictures do make it look good enough to go search it out!

  10. Kalyn, this recipe is such a winner! I love the herb crust on salmon.

  11. Whew, another rough day back at school. Thanks everyone for the nice comments. When I get home I'm eating the leftovers of this for dinner!

  12. That does look really good. I am going to have to see if I can find all of the herb in that blend so that I can try it.

  13. Salmon cooked on the grill is one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time. The herbs and fennel pollen in your recipe will make it even better.

  14. Kalyn, Your salmon sounds delicioso. Not to mention - those creative juices of yours. ;)

    We've been grilling so much salmon this summer. Heart healthy = tasty.

    Lucky you - visiting San Francisco! xoxo


  15. I never get tired of looking at your salmon dishes. I think rubbing herbs on it is the perfect method of cooking--and those herbs look very nice!

  16. So I take it now that I've found Penzey's 5 miles from my house, they aren't going to have this fennel pollen and the fantastic fish spice. You blow my mind but you are good for my heart here. Great recipe!

  17. Hmmmm, this looks so mouth-watering! I love salmon and I will sure give this recipe a try. Yummy!

  18. I can never get tired of salmon... Your recipe looks sooo delicious!

  19. Kalyn, I love cooking with herbs and this looks too good to pass!

  20. You are awesome, Kalyn. I think showing a little restraint with the fennel pollen was exactly the right thing to do. I am so pleased, so proud.

    For the rest of you: Fennel pollen is something you can gather in the wild. Look for those yellow-flowered weeds that resemble dill and smell like liquorice. Pick off ultra-yellow flowering tops and let them dry in a paper bag. Then just bang the dang bag around, and you'll collect the magic pixie dust.

  21. CC, thanks for telling people how to find the fennel pollen. People: this stuff is so worth looking for! I'm thinking maybe it's a bit like saffron, where just the tiniest bit in a recipe makes a huge difference in the flavor. Anyway, I've raved enough about how delicious this was, but truly, it tasted fantastic!

  22. Try pairing this with a Chile-Roasted Feta and Watermelon Slab http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/10/chile-roasted-feta-and-watermelon-slab/ It is a winning combination!

  23. Well, the watermelon wouldn't be South Beach Diet friendly, lol, but glad you liked it.

  24. Just found your site as I googled "how to substitute fennel polllen" and I'm going try this recipe. But first, I have another recipe I need fennel pollen for but can't find it anywhere in town. No gourmet food stores carry it. A store owner suggested I finely chop the green frilly tops from fennel bulbs as a substitute. Have you ever tried that? Or should I just stick to ground fennel? Thanks!

  25. I really don't know much about fennel pollen except that a friend gave me some she had gathered, so I don't kow if the green frilly tops would have the same flavor. I'd probably use ground fennel instead.


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