Fall is my absolute favorite season. I especially appreciate it since moving to New York, where we actually have a proper, textbook autumn. (In Texas, there are two seasons: summer, and not summer.) I love the cooler weather that isn’t yet too cold, and the foliage up here is just gorgeous.
Also, at least in my mind, fall equals FOOTBALL SEASON!!! I absolutely love football, especially college ball. In New York, football is a sport; but in Texas, it’s a religion. I got exposed at a very young, formative age, and it seeped into my bones. I was indoctrinated into the church and I wave the flag proudly. So yes, I love fall. So much so, that every year without fail, I start anticipating it sometime in mid-July. When the temperatures are in the nineties and the beach is beckoning, I start thinking about sweaters, pumpkins, changing leaves, and tailgating. I always feel a bit silly when this happens. I attempt to put those thoughts away and live in the present. I try and remind myself to enjoy the summer season with all its fresh produce, farmer’s markets, lazy beach days, and delicious grilling. That’s why I made this meal. To remind myself that it’s still summer.
Strawberries are beautiful and sweet this time of year, and I happen to love them in savory applications. This meal is the epitome of summer: fresh, wild salmon grilled to a perfect medium-rare and topped with a sweet and spicy salsa that takes advantage of plentiful produce. In addition to strawberries, the salsa boasts sweet Vidalia onion, a spicy serrano chile, tangy lime juice, and bright mint. So if you, too, need a reminder that it’s not yet fall, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, make this dish soon.
Source: Salsa slightly adapted from BBQ USA, by Steven Raichlen
1 pint ripe strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and diced
1 serrano chile, finely chopped, seeded if desired
1/4 cup finely diced sweet white onion
3 tbs fresh mint, minced
1-2 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 wild or organic salmon fillets, pin bones removed
1 tbs canola oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high.
Combine the strawberries, chile, onion, mint, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
Blot a folded up paper towel with the oil. Rub it on the grill grate. Place the salmon on the grill, skin side down and grill for 3 minutes. Carefully flip the salmon and grill another 2 minutes for medium-rare. Remove and serve with the salsa either spooned on top or alongside.