The stars line up just one time of the year for these four ingredients and lucky for us it’s now. Wild caught salmon, sweet corn on the cob, melt in your mouth cherry tomatoes and peppery fresh arugula leaves. There is nothing like eating whole, fresh ingredients during their peak season – a simple rub for the salmon and a splash of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice for the salad are their only enhancements in this recipe that can be on your table in less than 45 minutes.
For the salmon, I recommend wild caught King, Silver or Sockeye fillets. The flesh should be shiny and tight. King salmon is typically more expensive than Silver or Sockeye and has a richer flavor due to a higher fat content. The rub only needs 15 minutes on the salmon to work its magic. I prefer grilling but if for whatever reason you don’t, it can be cooked in a skillet.
Grilled caramelized corn kernels are truly nature’s candy. When I don’t have a grill available or it seems like too much work to fire it up, I char them under the oven broiler. I know I’m repetitive with this reminder of the importance of cold, crisp greens, but it makes such a difference – wash, spin dry and refrigerate the arugula at least 30 minutes ahead of eating it (or plan ahead and do it the night before.)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves or ¾ teaspoon chopped fresh
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 fresh salmon fillets with skin on, 5 to 6 ounces each
- 8 cups arugula leaves (about 4 ounces)
- 2 ears of corn
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Stir together brown sugar, lemon zest, salt, paprika, thyme and pepper. Rub on flesh side of salmon fillets and allow sitting 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium heat (corn can also be cooked under the broiler). Remove outer husk from corn. Grill corn until lightly charred and kernels are cooked, turning a few times during grilling, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and allow sitting until cool enough to handle; slice kernels off cob (see note for slicing kernels off cob).
- Flesh side down, put salmon on the grill (see note for cooking salmon in a skillet) and cook 3 to 4 minutes; turn and cook until flesh is just cooked through (about 10 minutes total cooking time per inch of thickness of fillet.) Remove salmon from the grill; run a metal spatula or knife between the skin and flesh to remove the skin; discard skin.
- Toss arugula, corn and tomatoes with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Arrange salad on plates with salmon.
To cook salmon in a skillet: Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Flesh side down, add salmon fillets and cook 3 to 4 minutes; turn and cook just until salmon is cooked through (about 10 minutes total cooking time per inch of thickness of fillet.) Remove salmon from skillet; run a metal spatula or knife between the skin and flesh to remove the skin.