Tasty Tuesday: Salmon on the Foreman


I was first introduced to the wonders of the George Foreman grill in college. My roommate, Scotty, was on the tennis team and therefore could eat like a horse and never gain weight. He was famous for his love of Wendy’s Triple Bacon Cheeseburgers. Every once in a while we’d go on a health kick and try to act like responsible adults. George Foreman’s promise to press the fat out of Scotty’s beloved burgers drove him to shell out the money for a grill. In general, he was a pretty good cook, but his Foreman burgers were the bomb. He even had a little contraption he used for shaping the perfect patties.

A couple years ago, I inherited my mom’s George Foreman because she never used hers. So far, the only thing I use it for is grilled salmon. I’m not very good at cooking meat in general (except in the oven), and I’ll admit it — I am your stereotypical female who thinks it’s a man’s job to grill outdoors, detail a car, and use a chainsaw. But an ex-boyfriend who seriously could have been a chef taught me a great method for grilling salmon on the Foreman, and this method is THE SECRET to flavorful, moist, meaty salmon and better than I’ve had at any restaurant.


Before we talk about cooking salmon, we need to talk about buying it. This is important. I am not entirely stringent in my efforts to buy organic or local or fair-trade or what have you. I do think about it, and I try to make an effort at it. But I’m usually too poor to be all that fanatical about it. Salmon is a little bit of a special case. There are no USDA organic certification standards for seafood. If you find something labeled organic in the seafood department, it could mean anything or nothing at all. The decision you normally face is wild versus farmed.

Farmed salmon costs less than wild salmon and has been shown to have higher levels of heart-healthy Omega-3’s due to their controlled diet. But it’s also loaded with chemical contaminants that cause everything from cancer to memory impairment to neurobehavioral changes. Farmed salmon is naturally gray in color, but it’s dyed pink to look like wild salmon. (Gross.)

Your best bet is to buy wild salmon whenever possible. Usually the grocery store will label salmon with “farmed” or “wild” and also the country or area of origin. Wild Alaskan salmon is, to my understanding, the cleanest. I can usually find it at The Fresh Market. If you don’t have an option due to funds or availability, and you have to go with farmed, you should choose Chilean first (cleanest), North American second (cleanish), and if it’s from anywhere else (especially Europe), you’re not eating it. Seriously — the chemicals really are that bad for you.

All righty then, on to the tasty stuff!


Grilled Salmon, George-Foreman Style

One pound of salmon will feed two people for a couple meals, but it’s generally more difficult to cook smaller amounts. If you are one person, you will have a lot of leftovers. This would be a good excuse for inviting people over to have dinner with you. Unless you have picky-eater friends, like me. Ha! That’s okay, more for me. Be sure to buy the salmon and cook it on the same day to ensure freshness and maximize flavor.

First, you will need to marinate. My favorite marinade is Olde Cape Cod salad dressing. My favorite flavor is the Wasabi Soy Ginger, but I’ve also used the Raspberry Vinaigrette, and that creates an interesting flavor combo if you are not opposed to hints of fruit in meat. I usually am opposed to that, but here it is very subtle. If you can’t find this stuff, or you’re not into crazy flavors, I would suggest using a basic balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.

In a large sauce pan, cover the bottom with salad dressing. Put your salmon in there, skin side up. Pour some more salad dressing over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Longer is better, but an hour will do.

When you’re ready to grill, plug in the Foreman and wait until the light goes off. Spray top and bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Make sure you have the juice-catcher tray thing (technical term) in place, because salad dressing will be all over your counter if you don’t. Put the salmon on the Foreman, skin side down. Spoon some more salad dressing over the top.

Now. This is imperative: get an average regular-sized drinking glass or cup, and set it in front of the juice-catcher tray thing. Lower the lid of the Foreman until the handle part rests on the rim of the glass. The lid will be almost closed but not quite. It might be touching the salmon — that’s okay. Many people complain that a George Foreman grill results in meat that is too dry. Basically that’s because the lid mashes down on it and squeezes all the juices out with the fat. This method prevents that from happening. But it also traps heat on top of the fish, which I think makes it more moist. When I have tried grilling salmon on a regular non-lidded indoor grill, it’s not as moist. And if you do it on an outdoor grill, you have to close the cover.

At this point, you’re going to babysit it for a while. Every salmon recipe I’ve ever read calls for really short cooking times — maybe because they are using higher heat. When using the Foreman Method, you need to be prepared for it to take much longer. You’ll have to watch it, because the thickness of the piece of fish makes a difference, but I usually leave it on for about 30-40 minutes. Every 7-10 minutes, I lift the lid and spoon more salad dressing on top. The juice-catcher tray thing will collect the excess salad dressing that is not absorbed.

You will know when it’s getting close to being done when you see a white substance start to appear randomly on top. (It’s not fat. It’s protein exudate. Like on a pork chop.) After you see the white protein, leave it on the grill for another 7-10 minutes. At this point, I would cut into the middle to see what the color inside looks like. It should be a uniform light pink color and not darker pink in the middle (unless you like it rare).

Remove the salmon from the grill by working a non-metal spatula in between the flesh and the skin. It should separate pretty easily, and the skin will be left on the grill. You can remove it second and discard. The Foreman actually cleans up pretty easily, especially if you use the nonstick cooking spray.

Enjoy your juicy perfection!