With the rapid growth in many Canadian cities including the Vancouver lower mainland of condominiums and townhouses there often can be challenges for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. The strata councils (or home owners associations) can place restrictions on what you can use to cook outdoors. “Traditional” gas grills can be a fire hazard or generate too much smoke for rather close neighbors. Also, some traditional grills can be just too large to even fit on the robust sized patios that just seem to be slightly larger than a closet. None the less, these are two of the reasons I was rather excited to find the Char-Broil Patio Bistro electric grill as a solution.
This Patio Bistro grill has a TRU-Infrared grill grate, a lid which holds in heat and well, it’s really, really easy to use. Think about it, if you can fry an egg on a stove-top, you possess the skill and know-how to grill outdoors and quite possibly have enough room around your patio for guests or furniture!
To get you started with a simple recipe, this skewered salmon dish is easy to prepare and is a crowd pleaser. The tricks are to source local, fresh salmon and for us in BC that means wild Pacific salmon. For the photo’s I chose a sockeye salmon however my goto fish would be Chinook – I just love the flavour and texture difference.
Meanwhile the vegetables are flexible as to what you use… I like peppers and onions since those work really well with the salmon. Alternatives could be zuccini, eggplant or even green beans with a bit of creativity on how you skewer them. Anyway, I think the rule would be, if there are any rules, to choose vegetables that ADD to the dish rather than provide a contrast in flavour. I’d probably stay away from mushrooms or vegetables that take too long to cook compared to the fish like potatoes or squash. Leave those to a side dish.
Maple, Balsamic and Chipotle Pepper Basted Salmon Skewers
Particularly for people who live near the west coast, salmon is a common fish to have on the grill. Even though it is readily available year-round, many cooks are challenged. Here is a simple recipe to set things right.
(For each pound of salmon filets)
2 TB Maple Syrup – real Canadian stuff is best, seriously, why would you look for anywhere else?
2 TB Balsamic vinegar
1 TS Ground Chipotle pepper (dried)
1-2 Bell peppers (red, orange or yellow) and/or cherry tomatoes
Green onion for garnish
1 lb Fresh BC Salmon
Cut the salmon into big one inch cubes and even up to 1 1/2 inches in size. Alternating with a piece of sweet pepper, feed the pieces of fish on a skewer. Cherry tomatoes are a nice alternate if you’d like – just skewer them on alternating between the peppers and fish.
Place the skewers in a glass baking dish and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to coat evenly. Meanwhile, whisk the maple syrup and vinegar together then add the dried chipotle peppers. Just before grilling, brush the fish with the mixture holding half for basting while cooking.
Prepare your Char-Broil grill for medium heat, direct grilling (for the Patio Bistro Electric Grill – leave it on high heat – that worked best). Place the skewers on the grate and leave them in place without flipping or turning. Once you see the colour of the fish start to change, baste the fish with some of the maple and vinegar mixture. In the picture you can see the Char-Broil Basting Spoon that I used – think half spoon, half silicon brush – easy to use and clean! Turn the skewers over and baste the other side. Close the lid of the grill and continue cooking. Using your thermometer, the fish is done when the fish reaches 130F internal temperature or starts to flake. Remove from the grill and place them on a serving tray. Add thinly sliced green onions as a garnish and a creamy dip such as Tzatziki or a dilly-yogurt dip.
I liked the ease of use of the Patio Bistro grill. I successfully achieved great tasting food, solid color from the TRU-Infrared grill and a great outdoor grilling experience.
Thanks and keep grilling!