Hook A Chinook

We have hardly had a winter in South Texas this year. In fact, it's been more spring-like than winter-like weather. Plus, we have enjoyed lots of rainy days and everything is verdant.

This reality means that determining what to cook has proven challenging. It's not cold enough for stews and soups, but neither is it salad weather. Needless to say, my palate has not been inspired. Nor has David's. We have just been moving along, eating to eat as opposed to cooking and eating with intensity, which is why I have been uninspired to share anything with you as of late...

Though when we went to Groomer's Seafood last Saturday and came across chinook salmon, I knew that this would be something to talk about. The omega-3's in salmon are intense and chinook is one of the best salmons you can find. And one of the most expensive with a short fishing season. So we figured we would enjoy it while we could.

We prepared this salmon using a Bobby Flay recipe from his Grill It! cookbook. Bobby's recipes are a great match to our cooking style in that he uses fresh ingredients, blends a variety of bold flavors and prepares everything very simply. You can make any Flay recipe in a short time and people will think you slaved in the kitchen for hours. And I really like that...

Buen provecho!

Grilled Salmon with Oregano Oil, Avocado-Tzaziki Sauce and Grilled Lemons

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While this may seem like there are a lot of components, it all comes together very quickly. In fact, you can make the oregano oil and avocado-tzatziki sauce ahead of time and then just grill the salmon at the last minute. Scoop up any leftover tzatziki sauce with crispy tostadas or chicharrones for a great snack.

Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 Tablespoons (reserve for lemons)
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 salmon filets (6 ounces each)
2 lemons, halved
Avocado Tzatziki (recipe follows)

In a blender, combine the olive oil and the oregano and blend until smooth. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour oil in a bowl and set aside.

Very happy oregano plant...unlike my rosemary,
but that's the way life is sometimes...

Make the avocado tzatziki sauce and then refrigerate up to 2 hours.

When you are ready, fire up the grill and get it nice and hot. Brush both sides of the salmon filets with the oregano oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon for about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. You want it to char and cook to medium. Brush with salmon with more oil while cooking.

While the fish is cooking, brush the cut side of the lemons with the reserved 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and grill, cut side down, until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Serve the filets with a generous dollop of avocado-tzatziki and squeeze the juice from the grilled lemons on top.

Avocado Tzatziki
2 ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 serrano chile, stem removed and chopped
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 English cucumber, finely diced or 1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and finely diced
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the avocados, garlic, serrano, yogurt, lemon zest and juice in the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth. If mixture is too thick or chunky, add a touch more yogurt and.or lemon juice so mixture processes thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Add the cucumbers and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.

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