The grilled salmon at Taku Glacier Lodge is legendary. Visitors can reserve the short floatplane ride up the river from Juneau and enjoy dinner at the lodge (available only in summer). The staff claims to engage in outdoor "combat cooking" - that is, holding back the bears until the salmon is done - but the evening we were there, the only big black beast being held at bay looked an awful lot like a well-fed Labrador retriever. We've reconfigured Taku Lodge's baste ingredients so they can serve as marinade as well.
Sunset MARCH 2003
1. In a large, wide bowl or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, stir brown sugar, wine, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until sugar is dissolved.
2. Rinse fish and pat dry. Add to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Lift salmon from marinade and transfer to a 12- by 17-inch baking pan. Pour marinade into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat; add butter and stir until butter is melted and mixture is simmering, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Lay salmon, skinned side down, on a generously oiled grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Brush fish generously with the baste; close lid if using a gas grill. Cook until salmon pieces are well browned on the bottom, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes (keep a spray bottle filled with clean water on hand to spritz any flare-ups). With a wide spatula, carefully turn pieces; brush tops with baste and continue to cook, basting often, until the salmon is just opaque but still moist-looking in the center of the thickest part (cut to test), about 5 to 6 minutes longer. Discard any remaining baste.
5. Transfer salmon to a warm platter or plates and garnish with lemon wedges. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
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