On a Tuesday’s summer eve one would suspect a small group of friends to consent to a picnic, which is why this dreamy sunset feast was so epic! Not only did we make what must be the world’s most beautiful pyramid of women (no, not to eat), but a large flock of happy faces descended on the tip of Cayuga Lake for a multi-course meal over several hours and bottles of wine.
My friend Sarah always says that cooking over fire is “primal” and awakens our deepest instincts (and taste buds). I’ve been saving a hefty filet of Wild Alaskan Salmon from my fish share (Wild for Salmon) precisely for cooking with fire. Though fruit is in peak season, I had some unseasonal oranges lurking in my fridge drawer which begged the bushy basil to join them in decorating my filet. I coated the salmon with olive oil, sprinkled it generously with sea salt and pepper and layered it’s coral-colored flesh with thinly sliced citrus and torn basil. The whole shebang was swaddled in foil like a burrito and placed on a well-lit grill for about 25 minutes to pure, simple ecstasy.
- Salmon fillet - 1 large salmon filet (ask your fishmonger for to give you a piece that matches the number of portions you intend to serve)
- Olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- Sea salt - 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon, freshly ground
- Orange - 1 orange, thinly sliced into wheels (or lemon or seasonal stone fruit like peaches and plums)
- Basil - Handful of basil
- Rinse the salmon and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Layer the salmon on a large piece of foil and use a spoon to coat it with olive oil.
- Generously sprinkle the surface of the salmon with salt and pepper
- Cover the surface with an even layer of orange wheels
- Use your hands to gently tear the basil into smaller pieces to release it's aroma and flavor. Sprinkle over the surface.
- Swaddle the salmon with foil, like a burrito.
- Place the salmon on a well-lit grill. If using coals, they should be burning. Begin checking the salmon after 15 minutes. When a white "froth" rises to the surface, the salmon should be done. Remove immediately as the filet will continue to cook inside.
- Squeeze a spritz of orange and garnish with a smattering of basil before serving.