- Photo by Jim Craven

Cabana grilled salmon with cilantro cream, garlic polenta & wilted baby greens

Rubbed fresh salmon fillet, grill-smoked on the barbecue, accompanied by herb-and-garlic-laced polenta and fresh, wilted baby greens. Second-place winner in the 2008 Oregon Healthy Living magazine recipe contest, submitted by Syd Brown of Jacksonville.


For the salmon
11/2;-2 pounds red salmon fillet
(preferably Alaskan sockeye or chinook)
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the cilantro cream
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
(long stems removed)
3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon green jalapeno pepper sauce
2 large cloves garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the polenta
1 cup coarse yellow polenta
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated
Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the baby greens
6-8 cups washed, fresh baby greens
(spinach, beet, kale, collards, etc.)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt


Salmon: Mix brown sugar, sea salt and pepper. Place salmon in zip-type bag and pat sugar mixture on both sides. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours. A half hour before you're ready to grill, soak smoking chips (mesquite, hickory, fruitwood, etc.). Place soaked chips in smoke tray or pie tin and heat grill to high. Start polenta while grill heats.

Polenta: Bring 21/2; cups of water to a boil. Add polenta, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, cheese and olive oil, stirring constantly until mixed. Turn heat to very low and stir for about five minutes. Cover pot and leave on lowest setting, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered.

Cilantro cream: In blender (food processor may be used but produces coarser-textured sauce) put cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lime juice, lime peel, salt, jalapeno sauce, garlic and olive oil. Blend until creamed. Refrigerate until serving.

Grill salmon (skin side down) on medium heat over smoke chips. Grilling time will be about 10 minutes per inch (thickness) of fish. When fish flakes, carefully lift with wide spatula (leaving skin behind) and flip over atop skin. Continue cooking about another 5 minutes. Remove and cover with foil.

Baby greens: In wok or large, open fry pan, heat olive oil. Toss in baby greens, ginger and salt. Sprinkle on about 2 teaspoons of water, then stir fry about 11/2; minutes until just barely wilted. Remove from heat immediately.

To serve: Place bed of baby greens on plate. Top with salmon and mound of polenta. Add a dollop of cilantro cream to fish and serve remainder on the side.

Serves: 4

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