Cheap side Dishes for BBQ
In other words, this fish? It's a real people-pleaser. Oh, and Seafood Watch recommends wild salmon as a "Best Choice" or "Good Alternative" (farmed salmon is a little more complicated; they suggest doing some research into where it comes from). But once you have your salmon preparation of choice (and we have a lot of them)...what should you serve it with? Honestly, I'm hard-pressed to think of foods that decidedly don't go well with this particular fish—pretty much all vegetables are a solid bet, and pilafs, couscous, or pasta all make easy carb-centric alternatives. But because salmon is on the sweet 'n' fatty side, I like to pair it with more tart or acidic dishes: anything dressed in vinegar or citrus is a good bet, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here are few of my favorites.
When it comes to salmon and salads, there's really no wrong answer: you can stay super-simple and just serve it on a bed of arugula and avocado. But if you want something a little more surprising, toss out that adage about avoiding fish and cheese: salmon actually does really well with dairy, provided it's of the tart or tangy variety and served in moderation. Think a blue cheese and bacon-smattered iceberg salad or some salty curls of Parmesan in a classic Caesar. In summer, when vegetable options abound, look to sweet ingredients with a sharp edge, like a quinoa and vegetable mix tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar.
There's also a lot to be said for salmon and corn. Regular grilled corn will do just fine, but I tend to find it to be a little too much sweet-on-sweet. Something like elotes (Mexican street corn) makes a great substitute, since it's slathered in a tangy layer of sour cream and mayo, along with some chili powder and Cotija cheese. But I often prefer to slice the corn off the cob entirely and give it a punchy dressing. Try it grilled and tossed with herbs, feta, and tomatoes or go for a completely raw version with radishes, cucumber, and shiso.
Another great salmon companion? All things panzanella and pasta salad (not, however, of the mayonnaise-y variety if you please): the bread or noodles give the salad a heartier edge and cling to the dressing for a bright and satisfying side that combines almost all your food groups in one easy-to-prep bowl.
[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]
Try salmon with some garlicky braised or broiled greens and you may never go back. I can't count the number of times I've served it with little more than some charred spears of broiled asparagus with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salty cheese or their more tender braised cousins.