Scottish Salmon for your Summer BBQ

By Elizabeth Atia

With the current pandemic lockdown restrictions slowly beginning tolift, more and more of us are taking advantage of what’s left of the summer of 2020 to catch up with friends and family in our gardens.

BBQs are being lit up all across the country, and food is once again being shared. All. The. Happy.

One of my favourite barbecue mains, after locally reared lamb, is Scottish salmon. Salmon is super quick to cook on the barbecue as well as being incredibly flavoursome.

Scottish salmon in particular was voted in 2019 by seafood buyers as number one in the world for its quality and taste.It’s also really good for you. 

Why is salmon so good for you?

Salmon is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, nutrients and high-quality protein. It’s also packed with Omega-3, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure and help with heart health. 

The NHS recommends eating 2 portions of fish a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet – one of which should be a fish rich in Omega-3, just like Scottish salmon.

How do you cook salmon on the barbecue?

Salmon is a versatile barbecue ingredient, and best of all, it doesn’t need flipping when cooking. An effortless bbq main!

The easiest way to barbecue salmon is to choose a skin-on cut with flesh about one-inch thick. The skin helps to hold it all together on the grill.Make sure your barbecue is at the optimum temperature too – you should be able to hold your hand above the grill for about 4 or 5 seconds before pulling it away. This means that the salmon won’t stick to the grill and it won’t burn either.

Lightly brush your salmon fillets with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for 15 minutes for a one-inch thick cut. 

If your salmon doesn’t have skin on it, use a piece of aluminium foil instead.You can either cook the salmon directly on the foil, or wrap it up with some other ingredients to form in an individual parcel, as I do with new potatoes and asparagus (see recipe below).

BBQ Salmon Parcels with New Potatoes & Asparagus


600 grams new potatoes

4 x125-gram Scottish salmon fillets

300 grams asparagus spears

1 lemon, thinly sliced

12 sprigs fresh thyme

4 tbsp good quality olive oil

8 tbsp white wine

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Simmer your whole new potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes, until they are tender but still retaining some texture. Drain and allow to cool(I usually do this in the morning).

2. Arrange the Scottish salmon fillets in the centre of each foil tray.

3. Slice the cooled new potatoes into 1 centimetre thick slices and arrange to one side of the salmon fillets. Arrange the asparagus spears to the other side.

4. Top the Scottish salmon fillets with a few thin slices of fresh lemon.

5. Drizzle the whole tray with olive oil and white wine. 

6. Season well and scatter the thyme leaves over the top.

7. Tear off two smaller pieces of aluminium foil to make a tight lid for the tray.

8. Heat your BBQ coals until they turn grey. Carefully place the foil packets on the BBQ, pop the lid on and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon.

9. Alternatively, heat a baking tray in the centre of a 200 C oven, slide the foil packets onto the tray and bake for 12-15 minutes.

What to do with leftover BBQ salmon?

Leftover cold cooked salmon works wonderfully with pasta carbonara.

Simply whisk 1 whole egg, 3 egg yolks, 75 grams of grated Parmesan cheese and plenty of freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl.

Cook your pasta (I like tagliatelle), drain it, and toss it through the Parmesan egg mixture while the pasta is still very hot. The hot pasta will cook the eggs.

Then, stir through your flaked cooked salmon (1-2 fillets will do) and some cooked peas, if desired.

Serve with more Parmesan and black pepper.

Recommended course

Next Level Wood-Fired Cooking taught by Gill Meller

River Cottage's Gill Meller elevates cooking in the great outdoors to the next level including cooking fish on the beach and cooking meat on a spit.

View courseAll Food & Drink courses

Elizabeth Atia

Mum, daydream adventurer, ex-pat Canadian & quite possibly Britain's most northerly award-winning food blogger. Calls Shetland home.

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