King Salmon with Red Quinoa and Peach Cherry Compote

by Mary on July 25, 2012


a view of Twin Falls

upper falls at Ollalie State Park


Summer in the Northwest: Rainier cherries, peaches, salmon. Why not combine all three and take them along on a pretty hike? My husband and I recently took a morning off to do just that. He grilled the salmon while I made a stone fruit compote and red quinoa to go with it. We packed it up along with a carrot-raisin salad and cubed watermelon and hit the trail.

The Northwest forest is quite literally fueled by salmon. After they return to spawn, their bodies fertilize the big trees. What better food to enjoy among the big trees than king salmon?

The inspiration for this recipe is Matt Fanning’s Grilled Salmon with Stone Fruit Compote from his tenure at Seattle’s famous Elliott’s Oyster House. His recipe is compiled in the excellent Northwest Best Places Cookbook,Volume 2. I’ve made salmon accompanied by summer fruit several times, changing the herbs and fruits as I went along.

salmon, cherry peach compote, and red quinoa on a blue enamel plate set on a mossy rock

king salmon with Rainier cherry and peach compote


A darker-colored version with Bing cherries was quite pretty and would be even more striking with black plums as in the original recipe. Too bad I don’t really like plums. We settled on a light-colored version with peaches and Rainier cherries. It’s the tail end of cherry season, get ’em before they’re gone.

We halved the peaches and grilled them. Other stone fruit like apricots or cling-stone peaches that don’t lend themselves to being cut in half and put on a grill rack can be cut up and grilled in a grill basket.

salmon and fruit compote with quinoa

by the trail


Our salmon marinades vary. This time my husband thought pineapple juice might go well with the fruit compote and added it to the marinade. I worried that the acidity might break down the salmon, but that did not happen and the result was moist and tender. See my  Northwest Grilled Salmon post for a different marinade and detailed instructions on grilling the salmon.

full picnic plate on mossy rock

full plate with carrot raisin salad and cubed watermelon

King Salmon with Red Quinoa and Peach-Cherry Compote
Serves: 4
For the salmon:
  • 1½ to 2 lbs. fresh wild salmon, in 4 filets
  • ¼ cup gluten-free tamari
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice or water
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp. unrefined brown sugar (coconut palm, Muscovado, Sucanat, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil to brush on salmon before grilling
For the compote:
  • 1 lb. fresh stone fruit, we used free stone peaches.
  • 6 oz. Rainier cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. basil, finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne (about 1/16 tsp.)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the quinoa:
  • 1¼ cups red quinoa
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. Place tamari, pineapple juice or water, bourbon, garlic, and brown sugar into a gallon-sized ziplock bag.
  2. Add salmon filets to ziplock bag and marinate for several hours, turning several times if possible.
  3. Cook quinoa with water on stove or in rice cooker set to finish by your estimated mealtime.
  4. Preheat grill to medium, 350 F.
  5. Pit cherries, chop basil, cut peaches in half.
  6. Grill peaches for a few minutes on each side until grill marks show.
  7. Cut grilled peaches into smaller pieces.
  8. Combine cut grilled peaches with the cherries, basil, honey, cayenne, and pepper, set aside.
  9. Brush the salmon filet with the oil, then place the filet on the grill flesh side down.
  10. Cook for 5 minutes, turn over onto skin side and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes.
  11. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the fish– cooking time for salmon tends to be a little less than the 10 minutes per inch that you hear for fish, more like 8 or 9 minutes.
  12. Serve salmon filets accompanied by the fruit compote and quinoa.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori July 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm

What a perfect recipe, I look forward to trying it! (Found you via Just The Right Things)
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mary August 1, 2012 at 3:52 am

Thanks, Lori!


Val July 29, 2012 at 12:29 am

I’m so looking forward to the King’s starting to hit the river so we can go fishing. It’s funny you have this recipe because I just found out yesterday that there are black and red quinoa. I only knew of the plain old brown which is in my Winco bulk section. Now to hunt out the other colors for some variety on the plate.

Always looking for a new marinade for the salmon and this has ingredients I haven’t tried before.

Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day 🙂


mary August 1, 2012 at 3:48 am

Sure, I always enjoy stopping by your blog. I’ve never fished, but I think it’s great that so many people around Puget Sound keep track of the salmon’s return, go out fishing, and care about clean water and habitat for salmon. If you ever get near a PCC, they have the red quinoa in bulk at a decent price. Trader Joe’s has tricolor quinoa (a mix of white, red, and black) but being a cheapie, I want to get some black quinoa and then mix up the three colors myself.


The Texas Peach July 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm

What a fun thing to do, Mary! I really need to talk my husband into doing something like that. Of course, I think that we might have to wait until the Fall to try it. The highs this week in Texas range between 104°-107°. 🙁 I really love salmon and quinoa, and that Peach-Cherry Compote sounds amazing!
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mary August 1, 2012 at 3:50 am

Yikes, that’s no fun when it’s too hot to go out. It’s been gray and cool enough for a light coat the last couple of mornings around here, very unusual for late July. But they say global warming will mean more cloud cover for the Northwest, so maybe it makes sense that we are having a gray summer while everyone else gets the heat.


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