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Half-cured Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter and Grilled Asian Vegetables (July 26, 2001)

Summertime, and the grilling is easy... the weather is fine, the evenings are soft and long. After lazy days, no one wants to work that hard for dinner, and grilling is the answer!

This week, our good friend Theresa Stahl from Weber Barbecues has sent us fabulous recipes for outdoor cooking, and who better than Weber to know all about grilling! They've searched the country and let us have a dish from each coast, Grilled Scallops and Warm Potato Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette from the Maritimes, and Half-cured Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter and Grilled Asian Vegetables from British Columbia.

A lot of food lovers are talking about a genuine Canadian cuisine, and the happy fact is that it exists, and has been evolving over the years. These days, local products and favourite dishes may still be the same old favourites, but the recipes are often spiced with exotic and unusual flavours brought to us by our newest residents and citizens! Our melting pot is the cooking pot, and we've embraced with delight what different cultures have brought to our shores and dinner tables!

Half-cured Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter
and Grilled Asian Vegetables

A little of this, a little of that, and suddenly good old grilled salmon is transformed into an international sophisticate! This is a fabulous combination of flavours; each bite is an adventure!

Serves 4-6

Grilling method:
Charcoal: Direct
Gas: Direct/Medium heat
1 Tbs. coarse salt (15 mL)
¼ cup brown sugar (50 mL)
1 cup water (250 mL)
¼ cup lime juice (50 mL)
1 tsp. each, black peppercorns and chilies, crushed (5 mL)
1 tsp. cumin (5 mL)
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves (50 mL)
Lime Butter
4 Tbs. butter, softened (50 mL)
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro (25 mL)
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice and minced zest of one lime
2 1-lb centre cut salmon fillets, bones removed (skin on) (500 g)
1 Tbs. soy sauce (15 mL)
12 fresh asparagus spears
4 small Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise
2 small to medium red onions
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice

Marinade: combine salt, sugar, water, lime juice, peppercorns, chilies, cumin and cilantro. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Place salmon in a shallow, non-reactive pan in a single layer, skin side down. Pour marinade over top. Place a piece of plastic wrap loosely over fish. Weigh down the fish by placing something heavy on top. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight.

Lime butter: In food processor, combine butter, cilantro, garlic and lime zest and process until smooth. Spoon the butter along one side of piece of plastic wrap; roll to form a log then twist ends of wrap to enclose the butter. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

To grill: Remove salmon from marinade and pat dry. Cut the fish into serving pieces. Brush flesh side lightly with soy sauce to coat well. Pre-heat the grill on high for 10-15 minutes. Brush the fish lightly with oil. Reduce heat to medium. Grill the fish skin side down over direct medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until just barely cooked through. The time will vary according to thickness of fish. Do not overcook. Fish should remain slightly rare inside. If your fillets are skinless, you may wish to use a hinged grilling basket to cook the salmon, to prevent it from sticking. Oil the basket and turn the fish once during cooking.

Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Peel the onions and cut into quarters, leaving the wedges attached to the base. Trim each eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Brush vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place vegetables on cooking grates next to salmon and grill for 4-5 minutes, turning often until nicely browned but not charred.

Accompanying wine?
Tony Recommends...

a full-bodied dry white wine with a touch of residual sugar (California Chardonnay, Alsace Pinot Gris) or an Oregon Pinot Noir. Canadian option: Inniskillin Pinot Noir Reserve 1999.

Present grilled fish over grilled vegetables and steamed rice on individual plates. Slice the lime cilantro butter into coins and place one or two on top of each piece of fish. Garnish with extra cilantro and serve immediately.

Recipes courtesy of Weber-Stephen Products Co.
Photography by Shannon Oatway.

Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

For grilling tips from Weber Barbecues, go to Or call the toll-free Weber Grill-Line number, 1-800-474-5568 – callers will be sent a free copy of Weber's Book of Grilled Pizza with recipes written by Bob Blumer, a.k.a. the Surreal Gourmet.




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