Last Updated April 8, 2021
Make crispy grilled salmon by adding a few sheets of phyllo dough on top to create a stunning presentation with a buttery crunch.
Disclosure Cuisinart compensated me for this review. Opinions are my own.
Two types of smoked salmon
When it comes to smoked salmon, there are two types. One is when you cure salmon and smoke it at a low temperature. The result is a salty treat that you slice thinly and serve with lox and bagels.
The other type of smoked salmon is when you cook it at a higher temperature and introduce smoke during the cooking phase to add that subtle flavor of hardwood.
Today’s recipe for phyllo topped crispy grilled salmon is the second kind. It’s actually grilled with wood pellets that give it the smokiness. For salmon, I like using hickory, pecan or alder wood.
Do you have to flip the salmon?
When grilling a salmon, there is no need to flip it. You can grill it skin-side-down and allow it to cook all the way through.
To help transition it from the counter to the grill and then to the serving platter, I recommend preparing and cooking everything on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
I start by simply seasoning it with salt and pepper.
Tangy Dijon Sauce
The recipe for crispy grilled salmon is completely flexible. I’m using a tangy Dijon sauce with mayo, mustard, garlic and parsley to season my salmon, but you could use fresh herbs and lemon zest or a soy brown sugar glaze.
Smear the Dijon sauce over the entire top surface of the salmon filet. This guy is about 2 to 2.5 pounds.
What is Phyllo dough?
Phyllo dough is a pastry used commonly in Greek cooking for recipes like baklava and spanakopita. The layers of pastry are extremely thin. Don’t confuse phyllo (sometimes spelled Filo) with puff pastry. That’s a completely different type of pastry.
The layers of phyllo dough dry out quickly, so they need moisture. That moisture is going to come from butter. You want to brush each layer with melted butter. I recommend using salted butter for added flavor.
Once the salmon is topped and the layers are ready, tear off a 2-3-inch strip and gently crumple it in your hands. Then, lightly press it onto the salmon. Continue this process until the entire top of the salmon is covered.
How to cook crispy grilled salmon on a pellet grill
Today, I’m cooking this crispy grilled salmon on my Cuisinart Clermont Pellet Grill. Instead of a quick grill over live fire, I’m using the pellet grill more like an oven, so I have the rack set in the middle of the grill. With this setup, the salmon will get even heat on all sides.
How long do you need to cook salmon?
USDA recommends you cook seafood to an internal temperature of 145F degrees. For this recipe, I set the temp to 375F degrees and let it cook for about 25 minutes.
You could set the temp to 400F degrees and cook it a little faster, but you’ll need to watch the phyllo to make sure it doesn’t burn. Likewise, you could set the temp to 350F and go for about 30 minutes, but then you run the risk of they phyllo being undercooked. I found 375F to be the sweet spot.
The result was a delightfully crispy buttery golden topping. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and some citrus slices for a stunning presentation.
With each bite you’ll crack into that crunchy layer and then hit the tangy sauce followed by the succulent perfectly grilled salmon.
Phyllo Topped Crispy Grilled Salmon
- 2 lb salmon filet
- kosher salt
- coarse-ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Italian parsley chopped
Crispy Phyllo Topping
- 4 sheets phyllo dough
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- Heat the pellet grill to 375F degrees.
- With the skin-side-down, place the salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season the top of the salmon filet with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic and parsley.
- Spread the mixture on top of the salmon.
- Lay out the sheets of phyllo dough. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle on a pinch of kosher salt.
- Take 2-3-inch strips of the dough. Lightly crumple it and place it on top of the salmon.
- Place the salmon on the grill and bake/smoke for 25 minutes, until the thickest part registers at 145F.