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Why is ‘salmon’ associated with ‘summer’?  This question brought up lots of recipes on Food bloggers’ sites and the discovery of a subset of bloggers I did not know existed–Genea Bloggers…They record family histories.  Sometimes, in connection with their main interest, they talk about food.

That is how the Nutfield Geneology happened to suggest an answer to the salmon question:  “In New England it has always been common to eat peas and salmon for the 4th of July, harking back to a time when people ate seasonally.  This is the time of year when the last of the spring peas are harvested before the summer heat sets in.  The salmon are running upstream, too.”

Members of The American Antiquarian Society examined the salmon’s July 4th credentials, too, debating whether or not Abigail Adams served it on July 4, 1776….Food rouses interest in unexpected contexts…

Whether or not the missing link between salmon and summer is a traditional July 4th in New England, a lot of people clearly feel that the fish goes with the season and the holiday, as all those recipes show.

This version of summer salmon does not prove the maxim that you get what you put into something–except, perhaps, in terms of its very good component parts.  It only requires marinating, grilling, and blending fresh herbs together–and it is delicious and good to look at, too.

Grilled Salmon with fresh Herb Sauce(for 8 people)


  • a filet of salmon, weighing roughly 2 and 1/2 pounds or 8 slices of salmon filet, weighing about 5 ounces each (Pieces of fish don’t have to be large if the salmon is part of a dinner of several courses.)
  • 5 or 6 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper


  • an outdoor grill

1.  Mix all the marinade ingredients together:  garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, olive oil, and black pepper.  Put the marinade in a bowl or a large resealable plastic bag.  Set it aside while you prepare the salmon for marinating.

2.  If you are cutting up a whole filet yourself, run your hand along the ridges of the salmon’s flesh that run vertically from head to tail, looking for bones.  Remove them with a pair of tweezers:

3.  Trim off the underbelly section of the filet, end-to-end:

4.  Cut the filet into pieces of about 5 ounces each.  There is no exact way to do this.  A salmon filet  isn’t of uniform size or thickness–but roughly into slices of about 1 and 1/2 inches thick.  Skin the slices:

5.  In the center of each slice of filet is a milky brownish wedge-shaped section.  If you like a milder taste, cut it out:

6.  Put the slices of salmon in the marinade and leave it there, refrigerated, for a couple of hours or overnight. 

7.  Oil the grill well.  Light the charcoal and when it is ready, place the slices on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, turning once.

8.  Serve the grilled salmon with the Fresh Herb Sauce described below.

Fresh Herb Sauce


  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of Italian parsley (other parsley will be fine, too)
  • 1/2 cup of scallions
  • 1/4 cup of chives or some more green onions
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Basil


  • a food processor

1.  Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend them well.

2.  If you make the sauce in advance, cover the surface of the sauce with a little more olive oil and a piece of plastic wrap, pressed to the surface of the sauce.  Set it aside at room temperature until you put it on the salmon.

A Note:  This sauce is very good with grilled dishes of all sorts–meat, fish, poultry or vegetables.  The source for the recipe is lost….my copy is written out on a piece of notebook paper.  The grilled salmon is based on one from allrecipes.com. Grilled Salmon with Fresh Herb Sauce is the Main Course of the Dinner Menu Dinner at Summer’s End.  

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011