Grilled Chili-Lime Salmon with Shallot

Chili-Lime Grilled Salmon on Cedar Planks | Culinary Compost Recipes

Place the salmon fillets over indirect heat on the center of the grilling grate, with coals on either side. The cedar planks ensure even cooking without flareups.

This is one of my signature Southwest recipes, made with just a few ingredients for the marinade. Buy the best Hatch pure ground chili you can find — it should not be cut with other fillers. When done, the fillets should flake apart and you can easily remove them from the skin before serving, if desired.

When cooked over cedar planks, the caramelized shallot and char from grilling adds incredible flavor without the risk of burning the fish. You can also use a gas grill, but the flavor won’t be the same. Enjoy!



4 8-oz. fresh salmon fillets, with skin
1/2 shallot, peeled and minced
2 tbs. XV olive oil
Juice of one large fresh lime
1 tsp. fresh-cracked black pepper
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. ground Ancho chili
1 tbs. ground Hatch mild red chili

You Will Also Need:
Cedar planks for grilling
Instant-read digital thermometer



Wash the salmon fillets in cold water and pat dry. Place them in a glass 1.5-quart baking dish with the skin side down.

Prepare the marinade by whisking the ingredients in a shallow mixing bowl. Pour over the salmon fillets, ensuring they are evenly covered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in your fridge for 2-4 hours.

Prior to grilling, remove the salmon from the fridge and allow to warm to room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the fillets are coming up to room temperature, prepare an outdoor charcoal grill with a generous row of coals on either side, allowing room for the salmon fillets to be placed in the center on a grilling grate over indirect heat. Light the coals and allow them to fire until nearly white-hot.

When ready, place the salmon fillets skin-side down (do not scrape off the marinade) on cedar planks in the center of the grilling grate. To ensure even cooking, try to arrange the thickest part of the fillets in the center of the grate and not at the edges.

Cover and vent, cooking for about 10-12 minutes. Do not turn. Watch closely and remove when the thickest part of the fish reads 130-degrees on an instant-read digital thermometer.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4

Chili Lime Marinade for Salmon | Culinary Compost Recipes

Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices

Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

2/1/18 Article in The New Yorker


You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at



In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Tuscan Chicken with Classic Alfredo Sauce

A variation of two classic, time-tested Italian recipes — the chicken should be seared on the grill over real wood charcoal — anything else is setting yourself up for an inferior presentation.



2-4 large skinless chicken breasts
5 garlic cloves – minced
1/4 cup XV olive oil
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs. premium Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. fresh-minced garden oregano
2 tbs. fresh-minced garden basil
Crushed black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste

3 tbs. XV olive oil
3 large cloves peeled garlic – minced
1 stick salted butter
1 cup shredded hard Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
White pepper to taste
DO NOT add salt until you taste after simmering

12-16 oz. Penne pasta, cooked al dente



Six hours before serving time, pound the chicken breasts flat on both sides using a meat mallet – this will ensure even cooking on the grill. Season each side of the breast lightly with Kosher salt.

Place in a locked storage bowl or a Zip-lock bag with the marinade ingredients, prepared as follows:
Mince five garlic cloves and whisk with 1/4 cup XV olive oil, 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, the Balsamic vinegar, minced fresh oregano, basil and crushed black pepper.

Chill until an hour before you are ready to grill – rotate the chicken occasionally in the marinade.

Prepare a heavy stock pot with enough water to boil the pasta. Heat on medium-high with a dash of salt.

Prepare an outdoor charcoal grill with enough wood charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When white-hot, level the coals and place the chicken breasts directly on the center of the grill grate.

Char and turn after four minutes. Turn again and check for doneness when the juices run clear. The breast should be firm with an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove from heat and let rest in a heavy covered dish.

While the breasts are grilling, heat a heavy, cast-iron pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and minced garlic. Saute for four minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to scorch the garlic.  Add the butter. Stir until melted. Increase heat slightly and slowly add the cream, grated Parmesan and white pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and stir constantly until thickened, about six to ten minutes. Shut off the heat and cover.

While the breasts are grilling, bring the pasta water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta, calculating the finished serving time, and cook according to box directions, stirring occasionally – about six to nine minutes, until al dente. Drain and keep covered.

When the alfredo sauce is done, add to the drained pasta. Mix lightly. Slice the chicken breasts and serve on top of the pasta/sauce.

Serve with a garden spinach salad and Italian bread.

Serves 2-4

Grilled Greek Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce


Greek Chicken Skewers | Culinary Compost Recipes

This recipe can also be modified by adding red/orange bell pepper and red onion. Any way you serve it, rest assured, the presentation is stunning.

This recipe is a home-run for busy families.  I created it after examining and testing three different versions. Marinated chicken with a combination of Greek spices is skewered, then seared over hot coals and served in a warm Pita bread shell with an amazing Greek Tzatziki sauce. Minimal prep time meets maximum taste — Opa!


For the Chicken Marinade:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup XV olive oil
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 handful fresh oregano, stemmed and fine chopped – about 4 tbs.
1 tsp. ground coriander
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
3 large chicken breasts

For the Tzatziki Sauce:
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and fine chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. XV olive oil
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 small sprig fresh oregano, stemmed and fine chopped – about 1 tbs.
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste


Feta cheese
Pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
10 small, ripe garden cherry tomatoes – halved
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
6 stalks scallion with greens, trimmed and cut into 1″ chunks
Greek flat or pocket pita bread
XV olive oil

5 wood grilling skewers – soaked in water for at least 1 hour



Prepare the chicken marinade ingredients and whisk thoroughly in a bowl. Cut the chicken in 1/2″ slices and place in the marinade. Mix to coat and let stand covered in your fridge for at least 3 hours. Rotate once per hour.

Prepare the Tzatziki sauce and mix well by hand. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours so it has time to set up.

Place the wood grilling skewers in water and soak for at least 1 hour so they don’t burn when placed on the grill.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers and alternate with the scallion pieces. Ensure the chicken is secure so it doesn’t fall off the skewers. Set aside on a plate to warm up to room temperature before grilling. Discard the marinade.

When ready to grill, prepare enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When the coal turns white-hot, level them and brush the grilling grate with peanut oil so the chicken doesn’t stick. Place the skewers on the grilling grate and grill for 2-3 minutes per side until the chicken’s juices run clear and there is a nice, even char. DO NOT OVERCOOK!  Remove immediately from the skewers and serve inside lightly-toasted pita bread brushed with olive oil, the tomato, red onion, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives and Tzatziki sauce.

Serves 4.

Grilled Greek skewered chicken with scallion | Culinary Compost

Grilled Greek skewered chicken with scallion | Culinary Compost

Apple-Smoked Spoon Roast

Festival Foods is a local supermarket chain here in Wisconsin. They market a cut of beef called a “Spoon Roast” that is basically a prime tri-tip loin cut. For this recipe, be sure to select a cut that is unseasoned – (Festival offers one called a burgundy pepper seasoned spoon roast.)  We will add our own marinade, let it sit overnight and then slow smoke it for several hours over apple wood until the marinade forms a nice crusty glaze and the meat is fall-apart tender and super juicy.

Serve with roasted carrots or asparagus and baby red potatoes on the side.  Good eats!!


1 tri-tip unseasoned Angus certified “spoon” roast – (about 2.25 pounds will feed a family of four)
Apple wood chips for smoking
Apple juice for the smoker drip pan – about 2 cups

For the Marinade:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbs. worchestershire sauce
3 tbs. yellow mustard
3 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. garlic powder
2 tsp. celery salt
2 tbs. fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp. ground thyme
2 tsp. ground brown mustard seed
2 tbs. ground ancho chili powder



Add the wet ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl and then add the dry spices. Whisk thoroughly for about three minutes so the brown sugar completely dissolves.

Place the roast in a covered locking container and cover it completely with the marinade. Seal and rotate occasionally, leaving it to set overnight in your fridge.

The next day – set your smoker at 225° F, and place two cups of apple juice in the drip pan. Remove the roast from the marinade and place in the smoker with a temperature probe in the thickest part of the meat.

Smoke over apple wood for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches no more than 140° F.  Larger cuts of meat may take significantly longer.
When done, remove and let stand in a covered roasting pan for 30 minutes until ready to serve. This will draw the juices back into the meat so it stays moist.  Slice thinly and serve.

Serves 4

Mike’s Grilled Chicken and Green Chili Enchiladas

Here’s a great, savory enchilada recipe featuring grilled chicken and my special Tequila marinade. You can find the canned Hatch chilis in most southwest markets – otherwise order them online.


4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat
1 28oz. can Hatch® whole mild green chilis
2 cups chicken stock using, in part, the reserved liquid from the canned chilis
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, washed and trimmed of stems
2 tsp. ground cumin, from toasted seed
1 tbs. dried Mexican oregano leaf
2 tsp. dried ground coriander
1 tbs. chipotle powder, or to taste
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh scallion
8 oz. package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 10″ flour tortillas

—For the Marinade:
2 oz. Tequila
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup XV olive oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with Mike’s fresh guacamole, salsa verde and sour cream


Ensure the chicken breasts are thawed and pounded flat. This will help the marinade penetrate the meat – they will also grill more evenly. Prepare the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Place the chicken and the marinade in a Ziplock storage bag, seal and refrigerate at  least six hours, but best overnight.

Prepare a charcoal grill with enough coal for a medium-hot fire. When coals are white-hot, level them and place the chicken directly over the center of the grate. Grill until lightly charred and cooked through – turning once. Remove and place on a cutting board to cool.

Prepare the enchilada sauce by pulsing the canned whole green chili in a food processor until chunky. Bring the chilis up to a low simmer on your stove top in a heavy pot. Add the stock or chili liquid, the chopped onion, garlic and the spices and simmer for about an hour, partially covered. Stir occasionally.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the pot with the cilantro and warm through, ensuring that the liquid is reduced, cooking for an additional 15-30 minutes, if necessary.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 9×13″ baking dish with a little cooking spray. Divide up the enchilada mix into the six tortillas, wrap tightly and place in the baking dish with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and scallion on top. Cover with the remaining chili sauce. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes or until melted and slightly browned on top. (As an option, you may lightly brush the outside of each tortilla with a little olive oil and toast in a skillet before baking.)

Serves 6

Grilled Beef Kabobs with Rogan Josh Marinade

Grilled beef kabobs with rogan josh marinade

This recipe is a summer favorite in our house. We usually grill corn first and then cook the kabobs after re-stoking our 22″ Weber® charcoal kettle grill. The Rogan Josh seasoning adds unbelievable Middle-Eastern flavor.

Choose the best Angus sirloin cut of beef you can find if preparing the kabobs by hand. Our supermarket has them pre-made on skewers for convenience.


4 assembled kabobs on skewers including 1.5″ cubes of Angus sirloin, green and red pepper, red onion and zucchini.

–For the Marinade:
2 cups bottled lemon juice, from concentrate
1/2 cup XV olive oil
1 tbs. Rogan Josh seasoning
1 tbs. liquid smoke
2 tbs. Worchestershire sauce
4 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the marinade in a mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate. Place the kabobs and the marinade in a deep 9×13″ baking dish, ensuring that the kabobs are evenly coated. Cover tightly and marinate in your fridge for at least six hours, but best overnight. Rotate the kabobs every few hours so they marinate evenly.

Prepare a hot fire on your Weber® 22″ grill. When coals are white hot, level them and place the kabobs directly over them. If you remove the kabobs from the fridge and let them warm up a bit before grilling they will not stick to the grate. The olive oil and lemon juice will flame up when it contacts the hot coals. This is normal and will add great seared flavor.

Reserve the marinade in a dish. Cover the grill and cook the kabobs for about three minutes a side, basting with the reserved marinade and rotating the kabobs evenly for a total of about twelve minutes. The beef should firm up and the juices will run clear when ready. DO NOT brush on the marinade during the last few minutes of cooking time, due to the raw meat juice coming back in contact with cooked meat.

Remove from the grill and serve immediately with seasoned rice or corn.

Serves 4

Marinated Italian Grilled Chicken Breasts

This is such an easy way to elevate plain-old chicken. The marinade infuses the meat and makes it super-juicy, even on the grill. Pair with garlic pasta, sliced on a salad or with grilled focaccia bread and provolone cheese.


4 skinned, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup XV olive oil
3 tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 large cloves garlic, crushed, then minced
Cayenne pepper flakes to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Italian oregano, ground in a mortar

1/4 cup fresh-grated hard parmesan cheese


Thaw the chicken, if frozen. Place in a zip-lock storage bag. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the chicken. Coat well and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate for at least four hours, but best overnight.

Heat an outdoor charcoal grill with enough coals for a medium-hot fire. When the coals turn white, level them and put the chicken on the grate over direct heat. Baste with the marinade. Cook until slightly charred on one side, then flip over. Cook until juices run clear but do not over cook.

Remove from the grill, slice into 1/2″ strips and sprinkle with the grated parmesan while still hot. Serve with your choice of pasta or side dish.

Serves 4-6