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Grilled wild king salmon with jalapeño yogurt

"King salmon, simply grilled over a wood fire and served with a spicy yet cooling jalapeño yogurt, makes for a wonderful evening," chef Brian Collins said. Side-dish pairings are wide-ranging and include summer corn succotash, wilted spinach with fingerling potatoes or garlicky green beans with wild rice.

Chef Brian Collins
Ember, Arroyo Grande

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Jalapeño yogurt 
1 to 3 jalapeños
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups plain, Greek-style yogurt
Salt, to taste

Grilled wild king salmon
6 (8-oz.) salmon steaks
Olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, halved


For jalapeño yogurt: Remove the stem from each pepper and split peppers in half lengthwise. With the exterior of the peppers down on the cutting board, you will have the seeds and ribs facing you. Carefully remove with a knife and discard. By doing this, you are removing most of the heat, but still getting the flavor. One pepper is usually sufficient for this recipe, but use as many as you like.

Place peppers in a blender with lime juice and 2 tbsp. of the yogurt. Puree on high speed until very smooth. Place remaining yogurt in a mixing bowl and lightly season with salt. Stir in pureed peppers a little at a time, tasting as you go. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days before serving.

For salmon: Lightly season both sides of salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper. Let seasonings soak in while you prepare the grill. Be sure grill grates are cleaned with a wire brush and wiped down with a damp towel. When ready to cook, wipe grates with a towel drizzled with olive oil. For best flavor, cook salmon over a wood fire, either almond or oak, over medium-high heat.

Place salmon on grill and leave at least 1 minute to form grill marks and firm up so you can turn the fish without tearing it. With a spatula, gently rotate fish 90 degrees to form crosshatch marks, then cook another minute or two. When salmon appears to be cooked halfway up the side of the steak, gently flip it and cook another minute for medium rare or to desired doneness. Place each steak on a dinner plate and top with a dollop of jalapeño yogurt and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves 6

Photo: © 2018 Kendra Aronson

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