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next stop: autumn 
an end-of-the-season  grill menu by Yee-Fan Sun
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miso salmon
I spent the first twenty-some odd years of my life hating fish. For years I'd take a pass on that last obligatory, supposedly delicious fish course at Chinese banquets; I'd sit down at restaurants and immediately restrict my possible options. All because I'd made a decision -- long ago as a kid -- that fish was gross. By the time I'd hit adulthood, it had been so long that I'd actually let myself taste any sort of cooked fish (oddly enough, the raw fish in sushi I quite adored) that I didn't even have a good idea of what any specific variety tasted like. But still, I held fast to my food quirk, saying no thanks to the halibut, shaking my head at the snapper. 

Not too long ago, however, my sister-in-law mentioned that she'd been reading a book by a foodie who insisted that a person could train himself to like just about any food. This made sense to me; the pickiest eaters I knew, not counting those with allergies naturally, were people who'd grown up eating very traditional, non-adventurous, meat-and-potatoes sorts of meals. I'd always looked on them with a little bit of pity -- how sad that they hated so many of the fabulous foods out there! Eating -- indeed life as a whole -- seemed like a much easier, happier, richer experience for those who could find enjoyment in a wide variety of edibles. The fact that I was still steadfastly eliminating this entire section of cookbooks from my culinary and gustatory opportunities just seemed kind of sad. And so I made a decision: I would give fish a chance, slowly introducing it into my diet. And have discovered, much to my surprise, that there's quite a lot of fish that I now find rather tasty indeed. 

Salmon's one of the first fish I decided I adored, and this salty-sweet miso marinade is one of my favorite ways to cook it up. You can use steaks if you prefer, but I generally go with fillets, since they tend to have less bones to deal with, and cook up faster as well.

2 six-oz. salmon fillets
1/4 cup miso paste
1 Tbsp sake or rice wine (you can substitute with white wine if necessary)
2 Tbsp. honey

serves 2
time 10-15 minutes, plus marinating time of 1 hour

Mix up the miso paste, sake/wine and honey in a bowl that'll be big enough to accommodate the fillets. De-scale each fillet, if your fish monger hasn't already done so, by scraping against the direction of the scales using a butter knife. Rinse the fillets and pat dry, then throw them in the marinade, turning to ensure that they're well-coated. Place the fillets skin-side up in the bowl of marinade, and pop them in the fridge for an hour.

Heat up the grill. Over a medium-high heat, cook the salmon -- you'll need about 3-5 minutes per side, depending upon how hot your grill is and how thick your salmon happens to be. Gently cut into the thickest part of the salmon to check for doneness, and remove as soon as it's cooked-through (or even just slightly before). Serve and enjoy.

check out these related articles: 
end-of-the-season bbq | summer grill | grilling 101 | burger basics

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