Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad at the Edmonds Arts Festival

A headwind pushes us back as we brave the traffic on 145th Street. Cars whiz by on this hairiest stretch of our 14-mile route, while grit blows up from the shoulder, sandblasting our hands and our eyes. I pedal harder to try to catch Rider Rick, but he’s already a traffic signal ahead in the left lane. We make the turn to the north and suddenly we’re out of the fray, riding the wide pavement among tall fir trees whose branches dance in the morning sunshine.

It’s beautiful up here on the bluff. Above the rooftops of low-lying houses we catch vast expanses of the Puget Sound, dotted with white sailboats sparkling against the rich blue water. Leathery madrone trees cling to the hillside, writhing against the sea breeze. Through Woodway, we ogle stately mansions that  peek out among riotous swaths of their manicured gardens. And before we know it, we’re freewheeling down, down, down on a mile-long hill that drops us into Edmonds.

Everyone in town has come out for art. It’s all here, from photographs to oil painting, glass work to ceramics, beautiful fabrics to funky fountains made from brass saxophones and trumpets. And of course there’s food. We opt for Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad, made by Scotty’s. With a generous plateful in hand, we sit on the bank watching the ebb and flow of art lovers among the white tents. We’ve got sun on our faces, a good meal, a view of the sound and the Olympic Mountains standing majestically on the horizon. Are we happy? Oh, yeah!  

Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad

Serves 3 or 4, depending on appetite

1¼ pound fillet of fresh wild Chinook salmon, skin on

4 teaspoons of Cajun spice

Salt and black pepper

1 large head of Romaine lettuce

1 cup of Caesar croutons

3-4 Tablespoons of Cardini’s Caesar salad dressing

3-4 Tablespoons of shredded Parmesan

A lemon, cut into wedges


Get the grill good and hot: Light a moderate amount of charcoal briquettes for your grill (25 for a small kettle grill or about 40 for a larger one) and let burn for 20 minutes until most of the black has subsided. Spread the hot coals out and add 6 to10 fresh briquettes before putting the grilling surface in place. Scrape and oil the grill surface.

Make the salad: While the coals are getting hot, wash and drain the lettuce, and break the leaves by hand into small pieces. Toss with Caesar salad dressing. Divide the salad among 3 or 4 plates. Top with croutons and shredded Parmesan.  

Prepare the salmon: Remove fins if necessary from the salmon fillet and take out large bones as best you can. Cut the salmon into 4 to 6 pieces. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of Cajun spice and salt and pepper to taste onto the meat sides of the salmon. Leave the skin side unspiced.

Grill the salmon: Put the salmon pieces spice side down onto the oiled grill surface. After 3 minutes, turn the salmon pieces to grill the skin side. Grill for a further 3 minutes. (For best results, don’t cover the grill with the lid!) Now move the salmon pieces to a plate and carefully remove the skin. Sprinkle the remaining Cajun spice on the newly exposed fish and return it to the grill for a further minute or two. While much depends on how hot your grill is, how thick your fillet is and how well done you like your fish, the salmon will generally be perfectly cooked in about 8 total minutes of grilling.  

Assemble and serve: Put the hot fish directly onto the plated salad and serve immediately. Pass lemon wedges for a burst of citrusy flavor. Enjoy!

Copyright ©2012 by Don Hogeland

Rider Rick and Sortachef find a little artful fire at the Edmonds Arts Festival. Photo by Judy Petersen

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At, Sortachef takes you on adventures in the kitchen and beyond, with tales to suit. Many of his offerings are woodfired - a flaming good recipe for pizza, bread, or something different. All recipes are original and tasty. Enjoy!
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