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Grilled Sugar-Cured Salmon Filets

4 salmon filets 3/4 to 1 inch thick, 4 to 6 inches long, skin on
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp fresh or dried lemon, lime, or orange zest

Mix sugar and zest together in bowl until well combined. Place
filets skin side down on a cookie sheet or casserole big enough to
hold them all lying flat.

Using your hands, pack the top (flesh) surface of the filets with
the sugar mixture until well and evenly coated.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, preferably for 24 hours,
although an hour or two will suffice. The longer the time, the
more the salmon will cure in the sugar.

Coat BBQ grill with cooking spray before you light it and heat
grill until at maximum temperature.

Place sugar packed filets skin side down on hot grill, close the
lid, and leave them alone for 5 minutes. Don't worry about lots
of smoke - it's the skin burning, but you aren't going to eat it
anyway. You don't flip these on the grill.

Open the lid and quickly check the filets for doneness - the flesh
should be light pink, flaky and moist but not translucent.

Close the cover if not done, but check every minute or it will dry
out. When done, remove from grill. I generally lift the flesh of
each filet from the charred skin (separates easily) and plate them
individually for presentation at the table. The brown sugar will
have caramelized in the intense heat and the zest is a nice

It helps if you know your grill and it's foibles. Salmon filets
are seldom uniform in thickness -unless you get centre cuts they
get thinner towards the tail. I orient the thick parts over the
known hotspots to promote even cooking and avoid drying out the

Serve with a fresh garden salad or some asparagus tossed in melted
butter and Parmesan.


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