Keeping your grill running strong year-round can open you up to new dishes you may be inclined to avoid during summer party season. Those who want to fire up their grill and try less traditional fare no matter the time of year can consider the following recipe for "Wild Salmon With a Smoky Onion Crust" courtesy of Laurey Masterton's "The Fresh Honey Cookbook" (Storey Publishing).
Wild Salmon With a Smoky Onion Crust
Serves 5 to 6
1 cup Hardwood grilling chips (hickory, maple or alderwood)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup seasoning salt
2 tablespoons honey, preferably tulip poplar honey
4 medium sweet onions, sliced
1 side wild Alaskan salmon (about 3 pounds), skin on
1. About 11/2 hours before eating, light a charcoal fire in your grill. Allow the coals to burn down to a medium heat before beginning to cook. Or, if using a gas grill, prepare a medium fire when you are ready to cook. Soak a handful of wood chips in water while you cook the onions.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add the seasoning salt, honey and onions (you will have a big pile of onions, but they will soften and shrink). Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are very well cooked and resemble a thick mash almost like paste, about 45 minutes.
3. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the grill. You may wish to put it on a piece of aluminum foil (being careful not to cover the grill surface completely with the foil) to keep it from sticking to the grill, but if your grill is well seasoned, you can skip this step. Smear the onion mixture on top of the salmon. Close the grill cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Open the lid and add the soaked wood chips to the coals. This will make a smoky fire. Close the cover of the grill and allow the fish to smoke for another 15 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of the fish. To test, gently poke the fish with your finger. If you prefer the fish to be more well done, continue to cook until the meat is firmer.
5. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and loosely cover with foil. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, and then serve.