Healthy Salmon Gyros
Health and Delicious Salmon Gyros
Salmon is a very versatile and nutritious fish, full of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamin B, potassium, and it’s just darn delicious. The American Heart Association recommends eating seven ounces of fatty fish like salmon per week to help with everything from heart health to dementia, and we are going to show you how to cook it perfectly every time.
SALMON SKIN FOR THE WIN
When we grill salmon, it is always best to do this with the skin on. Many times, you can buy salmon filets skinless, but our suggestion is to always cook skin on when you can. There are two main benefits to this; the skin aids you in cooking the fish and keeping it together on the grill, and the skin helps protect the fish from overcooking, and make it taste better! With the skin on you can cook a larger side of fish without worrying about the thinner side of the meat flaking off as you are working to get the thicker center of the fish cooked. The skin also contains fats that render out when cooking and give an extra depth of flavor that you would miss out on with a naked filet.
For this recipe we are only interested in the salmon meat, the skin will play its part but is not the best player in a sandwich.
MARINADE AND GRILLING TIPS
We want to make a marinade that speaks Greek to be the base of our gyros. Fresh herbs of dill and oregano mixed with paprika, Aleppo pepper, (available at most grocery stores) minced garlic, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil create a vibrant and bright marinade. The Aleppo pepper is a unique flavor that combines a semisweet heat with some cumin like undertones and an earthy flavor. You can leave it out or use half the amount or red chili flake, since it is much hotter, but you will miss these subtle flavor components. We also don’t add salt now, we will add that right before the fish goes on the grill.
Mix all your marinade ingredients together, place your salmon in a zip top bag skin side down, and pour the marinade over the top. Remove as much air as possible and then store the fish, flesh side down, in your refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. This will be enough time for the flavors to start working together but not long enough for the acids to damage the meat.
Preheat your grill as hot as you can get it. Since there is olive oil in the marinade, we will want to drop the heat as soon as we place the fish on the grates. Speaking of grates, make sure that the grates are clean and lightly sprayed with some cooking spray. Remove the fish and let most of the marinade drip off. Place the fish flesh side down at an angle on the hottest part of your grill and turn the fire to medium. Let sit for 2 minutes then gently slide a large metal spatula under the flesh. Lift and rotate 90 degrees and place just off the spot where it was cooking. Wait another 2 minutes then flip the fish over and place on a side of the grill without any direct heat. Pour a little of the marinade over the fish to give an extra glaze.
FINISHING AND RESTING
Use your Finaltouch X10 thermometer to ensure that you are not overcooking your salmon. We are shooting for a final temp of 130-135°F (54-57°C) so we will pull the fish off the grill at 125°F (51.5°C). As the fish closes in on that final temperature you will start to notice something white setting up in the crevices and side of the fish. This is called albumin and it is a protein that is pushed out of the muscle fibers when it cooks. By using this high heat then indirect method of cooking there should be a limited amount. This is completely edible but can be removed for a better appearance.
While the fish is cooking on the indirect side, lightly oil your pita bread and place them over the flames. Give them a few second then a turn, you only want to get a light grill mark on the bread to soften them up and add another depth of flavor, too much and pita will be hard and difficult to stuff or fold.
Once your vegetables are sliced and your cheese is crumbled you are ready to build the Gyros. We used pocket pita for our sandwiches, but you can use flat pita as well.
- 1 – 1.5# Skin on Salmon filet
- 4T Lemon Juice
- 2T Red Wine Vinegar
- 3T Olive Oil
- 1T Fresh Dill
- 1T Fresh Oregano
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1T Paprika
- ½ T Aleppo Pepper
- 1 pkg Pita, with or without pockets
- Olive Oil
- 2 Tomatoes, Sliced
- 1 block Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced on a bias
- 1 Red Pepper, julienned
- 1C Tzatziki Sauce, store bought is fine or you can make your own.
- ¼ Red onion, thinly sliced, optional
30-45 Minutes Before Cooking
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk till combined.
- Place the salmon, skin side down, into a zip top bag.
- Pour the marinade over the top of the fish and then seal removing as much air as possible.
- Place the bag into your refrigerator, making sure the flesh side is down this time to keep the marinade in contact with the meat, for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat your grill with one side being set up for searing, very hot.
- Remove the fish from the bag and let most of the marinade drip off the fish.
- Season liberally with kosher salt.
- Oil your grill grates with a little pan spray then place the salmon, flesh side down, on the grill. Immediately turn the heat down to medium high heat.
- If you put the fish at an angle across the grates you will get a nice cross check pattern on the meat. Close the lid and let the fish cook for 2 minutes.
- After two minutes use a large spatula to gently release the fish from the grill grates, rotate 90 degrees and then put the fish down on a new hot spot on the grill. Let cook for another 2 minutes. This will give you strong grill marks that look great, add flavor, and help keep the fish from sticking.
- After 2 minutes gently flip the fish over so the skin side is down and set on the off-heat side of your grill to cook indirectly. Glaze the fish with some residual marinade.
- While the fish is cooking lightly oil your pita bread and place them on the hot side of the grill. Wait just a few seconds till you get a little bit of color then remove to a plate. You don’t want to much or they will get hard and brittle.
- Use your Finaltouch X10 thermometer to a proper finished temperature. We are shooting for a final temp of 130-135°F (54-57°C) so we will pull the fish off the grill at 125°F (51.5°C).
- Let the salmon rest for a few minutes before serving.
- If using a pocket pita, slice the pita in half and separate the sides.
- Spread tzatziki sauce on the inside of the pocket.
- Add vegetables along one side, making sure to go all the way down to the bottom of the pocket.
Add flaked salmon then top with additional tzatziki and crumbled feta.
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