Whole grilled fish, shrimp skewers, salmon burgers, and more mouth-watering dishes
1 of 26Thomas J. Story
Grilled Salmon with Sumac Oil and Green Onion Yogurt
Wild king salmon requires the right mix of exuberance and restraint. Chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton of Ox restaurant in Portland hit the sweet spot, brightening its richness with tart sumac and a luscious yogurt sauce, and crisping the skin to create cracklings. You’ll need a rimless baking sheet to ease the salmon off the grill.
Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb restaurant in San Francisco is known for adventurous dishes like this one, a meet-up of mild grilled calamari (squid), fresh produce, and exciting seasonings. He grills the calamari over almond wood plus regular charcoal briquets; for the home cook, he recommends easy-to-find mesquite hardwood charcoal. To make the dish as fiery as Cosentino likes it, use 2 tbsp. black pepper and 2 tsp. Aleppo pepper, and don’t seed the serrano chile.
We are not kidding when we tell you that this is one of the best recipes ever created at Sunset for cooking outdoors. It’s a showstopper—a giant pan of aromatic ingredients simmering over fire—and interactive; you can ask your guests to help stir in the ingredients if you like. And it’s not hard, as long as you prep everything ahead. Cook this paella, and no one will ever forget your party.
6 of 26Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Amy Machnak
Whole Grilled Trout with Romesco
Grilling tip: Insert a thin knife into the thickest part of the fish and leave it for 30 seconds. Remove it and hold it against the inside of your wrist; it should feel warm. If it's still cool, grill the fish another 2 to 5 minutes.
Another secret to perfectly grilled shrimp: Rub them with salt and sugar before cooking to seal in their juiciness and sweetness. We love the shrimp with a two-punch licorice hit of anise seeds and ouzo.
A side of salmon, hot off the grill and laid on fig leaves from a backyard tree if you have one, makes a spectacular main course. If you’re daunted by the prospect of flipping such a large piece of fish, cut it into three sections before grilling (they’re easier to turn) and arrange them end to end on the platter.
Grilled Trout Fillets with Crunchy Pine-nut Lemon Topping
Firm, meaty rainbow trout is one of our most sustainably raised fish. In the U.S., it's grown on clean, well-managed farms in Idaho. This grilled version is finished with a crispy, crunchy nut-studded topping with lots of lemony zip.
Chef Christian Graves, from Jsix Restaurant in San Diego, loves how well the grilled flavor of the mussels pairs with the coolness of the cucumber and the spicy hit of the chiles. He prefers ‘Corno di Toro’ chiles for his recipe, but you can also use Fresnos.