alive logo

Salmon, Polenta, and Charred Vine Tomatoes

Serves 4


    Salmon, Polenta, and Charred Vine Tomatoes

    “This was a surprisingly straightforward and delicious way to warm up on a chilly lakeside outing,” says Cosco. “Polenta requires only a little bit of heat, a 1:4 cornmeal-to-water ratio, and a generous portion of Parmesan to be delicious. I like to add a bit of ‘luxury’ by adding a stock cube and a knob of butter to the boiling water.” His twist on a classic gremolata uses fish-friendly dill and parsley and cuts through the creamy richness of the polenta, itself a counterpoint to the crispy-skinned salmon.


    Crispier salmon skin

    The trick to getting that perfectly crispy skin is to sprinkle fillets with salt as soon as you’ve cleaned them. While you prep the vegetables, the salt removes excess moisture, which you can wipe off with paper towel (to be used as fire-starter) just before searing. 

    Better bouillon

    Look for a low-sodium stock cube without preservatives. 


    Salmon, Polenta, and Charred Vine Tomatoes


      • 4 cups (1 L) water
      • 1 vegetable (or chicken) bouillon stock cube
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
      • 1 cup (250 mL) cornmeal
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan
      • Salt and pepper
      • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
      • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh dill
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
      • 10 on-the-vine cherry tomatoes
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil or other high-smoke oil
      • 4 - 4 oz (113 g) salmon fillets, with skin
      • Pinch of fleur de sel or kosher salt, to garnish


      Per serving:

      • calories364
      • protein32 g
      • total fat14 g
        • sat. fat6 g
      • total carbohydrates30 g
        • sugars2 g
        • fibre5 g
      • sodium508 mg



      For polenta, in medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add stock cube and butter. Whisk in cornmeal and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, covered, stirring every few minutes, depending on how hot the fire is. If polenta starts to stick or burn, reduce heat or add water. Whisk in Parmesan. Season, to taste, and set aside pot.


      Meanwhile, for gremolata, in medium bowl, combine lemon juice and zest with garlic, chopped dill, parsley, and pinch of salt.


      Over medium-high, heat 12 in (30 cm) cast iron skillet. Be patient; the pan is hot enough when you place a hand above it and feel a fair bit of heat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, still on the vine, and cook until lightly charred but not bursting. Remove tomatoes from pan.


      For salmon, add oil to pan. When hot, add salmon, skin side down. Cook until the line of opacity reaches halfway up the side of salmon, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. If the two lines of opacity meet, the fish will be overcooked, so remove them sooner rather than later.


      To serve, plate polenta and fish and top with gremolata, and place tomatoes on the vine alongside. Sprinkle with fleur de sel or kosher salt.



      SEE MORE »
      Poached Sablefish and Bok Choy with Lemongrass, Ginger, and Chili
      Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

      Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

      B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.