Grilled Salmon with Herbed Walla Walla Sweet Onions

Cover recipe- Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Grilled Salmon with Herbed Walla Walla Sweet Onions: Copyright 2006

In chef Kathy Casey’s book, The Northwest Table, she shares 100 recipes that celebrate the flavors of the Northwest.  Included are a Tillamook Cheddar spread made with Oregon’s famous cheese, Dungeness crab cakes, grilled Wild Alaskan salmon, and quite a few desserts that feature fresh berries.  Quite a few beautiful photographs are in the book too.  You certainly don’t have to live in the Northwest to enjoy her cookbook.  Substitute whatever local ingredients you have at hand.  But if you enjoy collecting regional cookbooks, this one would be a wonderful addition to your collection.  Not only are the recipes creative and worthy of company, the stories and footnotes shared along the way are quite interesting to read as well.

I want to try Cherry Mojitos, Roasted Beet Soup, Seasonal Greens with Asian Pears & Toasted Pecans w/ Buttermilk Dressing, Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Apple Vinaigrette, Almond Chicken w/ Bing Cherry Salsa, Super Sexy Noodles and Bittersweet Chocolate Bread Pudding with Raspberry Drizzle.  Everything sounds amazing in this book, really!

The cover displays a collage of photos with two recipes highlighted- Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Cascade Berries and Grilled Salmon with Herbed Walla Walla Sweet Onions.  I tried the salmon.  See my notes below for the results…

Print Recipe

Grilled Salmon with Herbed Walla Walla Sweet Onions

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 25 min + marinating time

Cook Time: 10 min


1 large Walla Walla Sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. 1/2-inch long pieces fresh chives
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 skinless salmon fillet portions (about 4 to 6 ounces each)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

lots of fresh herb sprigs


1.  To make the onions, carefully separate the rings and place in a resealable plastic bag.  In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper flakes and oil.  Pour the marinade over the onion and close the bag, expelling excess air.  Turn the  bag to coat the onion evenly, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally.  Just before grilling the salmon, gently toss the onion and marinade in a large bowl with the chopped herbs.
2.  To grill the salmon, prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high.  Meanwhile, pour the olive oil onto a large plate.  Swipe each side of the salmon fillets through the oil, then season well with salt and pepper.  Grill the fish for about 1 to 4 minutes per side, or to the desired doneness, moving the fillets to create crisscross marks.  Different sized fillets will cook differently- just use good judgement and try not to overcook your salmon.
3.  Place the grilled salmon on plates and divide the onion evenly among them, piling high and spooning marinade over all.  Garnish with herb sprigs and serve immediately.


*I wasn't able to find Walla Walla onions, so I subbed Vidalia sweet onions instead.
*The onions are simply marinated in an herbed vinaigrette.  Love this idea.
*Sadly, we don't have good access to salmon of the Northwest here in Southern California, so I just used whatever fresh salmon I could find.  It was fine... but since I've tried fresh salmon in the Northwest before, it was just not the same!
*Salmon can be slightly tricky to grill if you don't have your grates greased well.  Be sure to do as the instructions above indicate, and give your salmon fillets a good swipe of oil before placing on the grill.

Source:  Kathy Casey's Northwest Table, Copyright 2006

The results:

I loved the simplicity of this recipe.  The salmon is grilled without any special additions.  Topped with the marinated onions, herbs and drizzled with vinaigrette- this was a wonderful, delicious recipe. On the side, I served up something that I found at Trader Joe’s… some sort of mixed grain ensemble- I can’t quite remember the exact product (it was good though if you can manage to find it from looking at my photograph above).

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes.   When I think of food that represents the Northwest, salmon is the first thing that comes to mind (Copper River!).  They have some of the most amazing salmon I’ve ever tasted… perfect choice for the cover of a cookbook highlighting flavors of the Northwest.