Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 30, 2012

Pesto infused salmon on the grill


— Very seldom is something simple to make, and at the same time, impressive to serve.

Today's recipe definitely qualifies, especially if you are a lover of fresh pesto.

Every spring we plant basil in a gardening pot and place it on our deck. Keeping it watered throughout the summer will produce more basil than you can imagine, but the key is to keep it watered.

Obviously it's too late to start a new basil plant for this season, but if you like pesto, put a potted basil plant on your list of “to-do's” for next spring. And there is a bonus. Pesto is awesome to freeze for the winter, giving you that fresh taste of summer when the thermometer tells you the cold season has set in for a


If you are interested in seeing a video I shot for this dish, go to and place “pesto salmon” in the search field.

Liz's Pesto Recipe

• 3 to 4 cups of fresh basil leaves

• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

• ½ cup pine nuts

• 2 to 4 cloves of garlic (depends on how garlicky you want your pesto)

• 1 ½ tsp kosher salt

• 1 ½ tsp black pepper

Coarsely chop the basil and garlic. Place all ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender with the basil and garlic. Pulse for a minute, and then slowly drizzle oil onto the dry ingredients, as

you continue pulsing the mixture.

Scrape down the sides and pulse again. Add additional oil if needed until it reaches the consistency you desire. (It should like not be runny, but more of a paste.)

Take two lbs of a boneless salmon filet (with the skin preferably) and slice into serving sizes. Lightly

salt and pepper the filets. Take a tablespoon or so of pesto and smear it directly on the flesh side of the


Grill preparation and cooking

Seafood is a bit tricky, but don't let it scare you. If this is your first time, it is really important to buy

salmon with the skin on. Either way, set up the grill with indirect heat, meaning there are hot coals

bunched on one side of the grill.

Sprinkle the coals with wood chips. Once the grate has been over the hot coals for a couple of minutes, aggressively clean the hot portion with a steel brush. Spin the grate around and do the same thing with the other side of the grate.

Take a wad of paper towel and drizzle olive oil on it. Wipe down both sides of the grate. Be careful, obviously the hot side will be very hot. The oil will help prevent the fish from sticking.

Place the salmon skin-side down on the cool side of the grill. Place the lid on the grill and allow to

cook for 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, move the salmon (with a high quality spatula) to the hot

end of the grill, flesh side down. If flaming starts, place lid on grill. This will add color and texture to

the salmon. The key is to handle the fish as little as possible until it is done. This final stage will take

no more than five minutes.

Bring it inside and enjoy! Oh, and this recipe could be used with any fish you like to grill, so if salmon

isn't your favorite fish, use the same technique with your fish of choice!


Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at