Salmon: Hayes Street Grill Style

by Patricia Unterman

Patricia Unterman is the chef/co-owner of the Hayes Street Grill, a San Francisco seafood restaurant renowned for serving sustainably harvested fish and shellfish certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. She co-founded the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and was the lead food critics for both San Francisco daily papers.

After screening the movie The Breach she offered to write her powerful review of the new movie for EDF. Then we asked her to provide our readers with a couple of her favorite salmon dishes.HSGinside

salmonfilletSlow Roasted Wild Salmon

The beauty of this method of cooking is that it is so forgiving.  You really can’t overcook the salmon.  This is a recipe to do at home.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees – for at least 15 minutes.

Place wild king salmon fillets on a cookie sheet, skin side down.

Generously salt and pepper the fillets and liberally top with extra virgin olive oil– or dot it with butter.

Cook the fillets in the 250 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Wild salmon will remain bright orange inside and out but will be fully cooked.  The salmon fat in the flesh melts giving the fish the most divine texture – it becomes almost jelly-like, super moist and butter tender.baked-salmonYou can pour on more olive oil or serve it with beurre blanc.

Beurre Blanc

  • Ÿ 2 tb. dry white wine
  • Ÿ 2 tb. white wine vinegar
  • Ÿ 1 tb. finely minced shallots
  • Ÿ Salt and white pepper
  • Ÿ 1 ½ sticks of cold butter, cut into tablespoon-sized hunks

Put wine, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper into a small sauce pan and boil until the shallots have absorbed most of the liquid. Over the lowest possible flame whisk in the butter piece by piece, waiting until each hunk of butter has disappeared before you add the next one.

You should have a creamy emulsion–not melted butter.  The sauce will be lukewarm.

Taste for salt. Just the right amount will transform your butter sauce.

EDF ForkA Winter Version of Hayes Street Grill’s Wild Salmon BLT

People love sandwiches and grilled wild salmon, bacon, lettuce and tomato with lots of home-made mayonnaise – ideally with some capers, cornichons and finely minced red onion mixed in – is one of the best.

hayesstandWe serve hundreds of them at our booth at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market every Saturday. This week, we’re using the last Early Girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl but we will soon move into the winter version of this sandwich–grilled salmon, Hobbs bacon, lettuce and cole slaw.

bltYes, cole slaw, creamy cole slaw made with those winter staples green and red cabbage with some grated carrot and generous chopped green onions.

We shave the cabbage on a mandolin but you can use a sharp knife to slice the cabbage as thinly as possible.

Grate the carrots on the largest holes of a box grater.

Finely chop the green onions.

Toss the vegetables in a big bowl with salt and let rest for 15 minutes or a half hour.

Then toss with the following dressing:

  • Ÿ 1 tb. cider vinegar
  • 2 tb. brown sugar, packed
  • Ÿ salt and black pepper
  • Ÿ ½ cup of plain yogurt
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise (home-made is best)
  • Ÿ 1 tsp. of horseradish–or to taste

Whisk everything together.

Acme hamburger buns would be ideal.  We use those at the restaurant.  Acme Pain de Mie is also delicious.

Patty Unterman talks about helping start the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market’s sustainable seafood practices.


In Patty’s newsletter Unterman on Food, she writes about her food and travel experiences and starts off with:

“Food and food issues dominate our culture. I have been writing about restaurants, food and food travel for thirty-five years; for fifteen as restaurant and food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, and for twenty in the San Francisco Examiner. I know restaurant operations and cooking as the co-owner of the Hayes Street Grill where I work in the kitchen daily.  I have authored restaurant and food guides to eating in the San Francisco Bay Area. And I was a founder of the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.

It is my goal in this web site, my newsletter and my books, to give you highly opinionated  reviews and comments on food in San Francisco, the United States and the world, based on independent visits.

It is my hope that by introducing you to the best food experiences you otherwise might miss, your cultural and sensual life will be enriched.”

Bravo! She accomplishes all of her goals while continuing to maintain the highest standard of food and service at her restaurant.

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