Chicago is a foodie city worth traveling to, but you don’t need to take our word for it. Just try Chef Max Robbins’ recipe for barbecue salmon with cheesy grits and grilled green onion, as featured on the Northern Californian-inspired menu of The Oakville Grill & Cellar.
“With regards to California cuisine, people think light and bright and delicate,” chef Robbins says, “but since The Oakville is so centered on comfort food, we wanted to make a dish that was warming, deep, rich and very savory. Because salmon is such a firm and buttery fish, we can cook it in the style of barbecue in our coal oven. The glazed smokey fish sits on a bed of toasted grits with aged Gouda and a broth made from barbecue sauce, chicken stock vinegar and kale stems.”
Robbins and his team take no-waste cooking very seriously, so they use leftover kale stems when making this barbecue sauce, and that’s something you might appreciate, too. The team says it gives the sauce a deeper flavor, similar to how southern cooks use stew greens in the region’s popular “potlikker” sauces.
This recipe yields four servings, and you’ll find those get gobbled up mighty fast! Get the freshest salmon fillets you can, whip up some homemade barbecue sauce (or jus, as chef Robbins says), impress your friends and family with your cheesy grits, and have fun!
*Chef’s note: If you can’t find ramps, green onions are a great replacement.
Visit The Oakville Grill & Cellar in Chicago and online for more delicious dishes and inspiration.
Photography by: Lindsay Eberly