Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling
Salmon is a nutritious, delicious fish for even the pickiest eaters. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals and low in fat, calories and cholesterol, it’s no wonder Americans eat more of this fish than any other seafood besides shrimp. Whether baked, grilled, or eaten raw in sushi or tartar, it’s a versatile protein suitable for any season.
But there’s something about salmon in the summer that we particularly love. After a day in the sun, there’s nothing better than a light yet filling meal, and salmon often fits the bill. Here are 20 salmon recipes that are awesome year-round but particularly excellent in the warmer months.
Summer and grilling go hand in hand, but if you’re stuck in a burger and dog rut, this foolproof recipe is a great way to snap out of it. Mayonnaise keeps the salmon supremely moist while grilling imbues it with that campfire flavor we love. If you want to amp things up, mix spices like cumin and oregano into the mayo first.
Summer is a time for cold soups like gazpacho, not hot, sweat-inducing bowls of broth. But if there’s one exception to this rule, it’s chowder, which can transport you to a New England beach with one bite. This seafood chowder pairs salmon, scallops, bacon and seasonal veggies with a creamy broth.
Salmon pairs well with robust flavors, which is why this recipe works so well. Coated in a mix of pantry-staple spices like brown sugar, chili powder and cumin and then pan-seared, the dish develops a pleasantly charred crust that adds even more flavor. You could also throw this salmon on the grill for an even smokier taste.
Beef burgers are great, but when you feel like something lighter, salmon burgers can be oh-so-satisfying. This one starts with fresh salmon (rather than canned) and is finished off with an herbaceous dill cream cheese topping that pairs perfectly with the fish.
If you’ve ever been to fan-favorite restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory and you’re a salmon lover, then you’ve probably encountered this perennially popular entree salad. Super filling and healthy, the salad features a base of kale, arugula, sliced raw Brussels sprouts and quinoa plus plenty of avocado and dried cranberries. But the star of the show is the salmon, which is seared, baked and covered in garlic aioli and a crunchy almond crust.
If you’re planning on entertaining, this poached salmon recipe is a perfect make-ahead option since it is meant to be served cold. Salmon fillets are poached in a heady liquid infused with clam juice, vermouth, mustard seeds and aromatics before being chilled and served with a creamy, tangy dill sauce.
Crab cakes are great and all, but if you want to switch things up or are looking for a more economical option, salmon cakes are easy and delicious. Using canned salmon and other pantry staples means that this meal can be at your fingertips in 10 minutes. Serve these with salad or on buns as a sandwich perfect for summer.
Steaming is a healthy method of cooking that uses no extra fat but retains the moisture and nutrients of the ingredient. But it can be bland. This recipe remedies that by marinating and then steaming salmon in a mixture of lemon and Japanese sake for a delicate, nutritious, flavorful weeknight entree.
Poke bowls are super popular takeout lunch options, but there’s no reason to be intimidated about making them at home. This recipe removes any fear you may have about working with raw fish by utilizing quickly cooked salmon and shrimp instead. The seafood is piled on top of fluffy rice along with cooked bok choy, chopped avocado, seasoned cucumbers and spicy mayo.
For the flavors of poke in a party-friendly format, make a salmon poke dip. This one calls for raw, sushi-grade salmon mixed with zesty soy, lime, ginger, sugar and rice wine vinegar dressing. Add some avocado, onions, jalapeño and radishes for a fresh and flavor-packed dip perfect for game day.
If you’re looking for a salmon dish that’s easy to make but will look like you spent ages preparing it, this open-faced sandwich fits the bill. With a marinade containing turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne and garlic, this salmon is a great reason to break out the grill.
Salmon makes a great weeknight dinner if you remember to defrost those fillets in time. But what if we told you that you could cook frozen salmon right on the stove without any defrosting or planning ahead? That’s what we call a game-changer. Follow this recipe for the method, then never worry about planning ahead again. The farro and herb butter are bonuses.
If you have time to spare, this marinated salmon is something special. Like the pickled fish you’d find in a Jewish deli but less vinegary and more delicate, this recipe has you bake salmon then marinate it in the fridge for two days in a mixture of olive oil, rice wine vinegar and salt. It’s the perfect make-ahead dish for a romantic picnic.
Cedar planks are a classic way to infuse lots of flavor into your food without a lot of extra gear. Here, that flavor is amped up when salmon is topped with a heady mixture of fennel, shallot, thyme and lemon. This 30-minute meal is great for a weeknight yet is restaurant-quality and impressive enough for entertaining.
You don’t need a dedicated smoker or tons of specialized equipment to get that intoxicating smoked flavor. As this recipe demonstrates, all you need is a simple grill and some wood chips to have perfectly hot smoked salmon in just 15 minutes. Enjoy it as is or revel in the leftovers for a brunch that’s not to be beat.
If you prefer your salmon cured rather than smoked, making your own gravlax is super doable. There’s no need to spend a fortune at the deli. Instead, refrigerate salmon in a mixture of vodka, dill, salt, sugar, pepper and lemon zest for 48 hours and you’ve got yourself a deli-worthy bagel topper.
Even if you skip the andouille potato hash, Emeril Lagasse’s technique for barbecue sauce-lacquered salmon fillets is worth a gander. Technically, this recipe calls for baking the salmon but you could easily throw the fillets on the grill. And if you are feeling aspirational, definitely make the accompanying tangy tomato gastrique.
Next time you throw some salmon on the grill, turn it into a complete meal with a side of pearl couscous mixed with baby kale, dried cherries and toasted almonds. Then top the whole thing with a simple yet decadent sauce that stars lots of butter, red and white wine, lemon, shallots and heavy cream. Oh yeah, it’s a special sauce, all right.
Whether you prefer your salmon grilled, seared or baked, you can dress it up with this delightful citrus-filled topping. Make a sauce with orange juice and zest, marmalade, white wine, capers, shallots and cream for a creamy, zingy accompaniment to salmon prepared any which way.
It’s not summer without cooking up some kebabs on the grill. As much as we love chicken, beef and veggie skewers, there’s something special about swapping in a firm fish. A quick marinade in orange, Dijon mustard, garlic and parsley makes sure that these kebabs are not lacking in the flavor department. It’s just one of many of our best grilling recipes.
More from The Daily Meal: