Grilled Wild Salmon with Caper-Tarragon Sauce

Grilled Wild Salmon with Caper-Tarragon Sauce

My dear friend Mara  and her “brood” have flown in from N. California to roost with us a few days.  We were roommates at UMich our senior year of college. I was the “outsider” naming Alabama my home.  Mara, an Ann Arbor native, introduced me to the nooks and crannies of my new inimitable little college town. Now I am the “native” and she the “visitor” and I always show off our wonderful, local food venues. (Does San Francisco have a Zingerman’s?  I think NOT!)

Last night we had friends for a casual dinner. “Casual” is the operative word here. We spent a day at the art fair leaving an hour to prepare dinner for 10 people, way past my comfort zone!  As I frantically dashed around the kitchen, Mara regarded me with quiet amusement. “I’d never entertain,” she said, ”if everything had to be perfect.”  Though pots and pans (and computers these days) were scattered around the kitchen, the laughter eased my “party nerves” and soon enough, I joined the fun.

I selected planked salmon with a side of blanched asparagus for the dinnerFeed-it is a crowd pleaser and so easy to prepare.  Bonus: The plank serves as a “rustic” serving dish. I also needed a sauce that could perform double-duty. My Caper-Tarragon was perfect. Interestingly, different flavors emerged in the sauce when tasted on the fish, than those flavors tasted on the  asparagus.

I purchased Keta Salmon, on sale through Sunday at Whole Foods for $6.99#. This wild Canadian salmon has a mild, sweet buttery flavor I highly recommend.   I cooked on two planks–one plank reserved for those of us who like salmon a touch “underdone,” the other plank for those who prefer it cooked through. If you choose not to grill on planks, decrease the cooking time at least 10 minutes. (For this dinnerFeed, I downsized the recipe to serve 6.)

(More dinnerFeed tips & techniques for cooking fish on planks)

Recipe: Grilled Wild Salmon with Caper-Tarragon Sauce


  • 1 cedar plank, large enough to accommodate salmon (optional but recommended)
  • 2 pounds salmon fillet
  • 1 teaspoon chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (or 1-2 teaspoon dried)


  1. If using a plank,soak at least 3 hours. Prepare charcoal or gas grill to medium high heat . Oil grill grate or soaked plank to prevent skin from sticking.
  2. Place salmon on plank. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. In a processor or blender, pulse shallot, capers, olive oil, Dijon, lemon juice and tarragon. Brush a tablespoon of the mixture on the uncooked salmon.
  4. With grill lid closed, grill fillets, basting salmon with sauce, until cooked to desired level of doneness. (It takes longer to grill fish when planked. Total cooking time for our fillets was 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of fillet.)
  5. Place salmon on plates and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

Time: 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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