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Whole Grilled Salmon with Grilled Walla Walla Onions and Fava Leaves

By Tom Douglas From Moveable Feast Season 5, Ep.2

Servings: Serves 6

Redolent with fresh herbs, onions, and the char from the grill, for this dish chef Tom Douglas favors a rustic, fuss-free presentation choosing to let the flavors and aromas speak for themselves.


For the onions

  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; plus more for the grill
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 lb. young Walla Walla onions, green tops intact, or spring onions
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 8 cups coarsely chopped fava leaves, or watercress
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon


For the salmon

  • 1 whole salmon, (about 3-1/2 to  4 lb.), tail on, gutted, scaled, and head removed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 8 garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch onion leaves, reserved from the onions above, or 1/2 bunch scallions, green parts only
  • 1/2 bunch dill
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 530
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 380
  • Fat (g): 43
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 28
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 1050
  • Carbohydrates (g): 19
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Sugar (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 20


Make the grilled onions

  • Put 2/3 cup of the oil along with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, lemon zest, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a small bowl or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, whisk or shake to combine. Set aside, or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.
  • Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 450°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Lightly oil the grill.
  • Trim the leaves from the onions, leaving about a 2 inch stalk attached to the bulbs; reserve. Halve the onions lengthwise. Drizzle the onions with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and season with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and the paprika. Grill, flipping the onions as they become charred and tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from grill and coarsely chop. Put the onions on a large serving platter, and top with the fava leaves. Garnish with the tarragon and half of the vinaigrette, reserving the rest for the fish.

Make the grilled salmon

  • Season the fish inside and out with 2 tsp. sea salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Slice one of the lemons into thin rounds and stuff into the cavity of the fish with the garlic scapes, onion leaves, and dill. Tie the fish with twine in 5 places, about every 2 inches.
  • Brush both sides of fish with the oil and grill until golden, about 8 minutes, flip and grill until golden on the other side, another 8 minutes. Remove the fish from the grill, and let rest tented with foil for about 10 minutes. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges. Remove the twine binding the fish and portion into chunks, dividing it evenly, and placing it skin-side-down into 6 shallow bowls. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve with the lemon wedges, passing the grilled Walla Walla onions.


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