Grilled salmon with sushi rice salad is a catering-crowd favorite

Intro by Hope Katz Gibbs | Photograph by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the July 2023 issue 


Chef Gretchen Richardson says that when summer arrives, salmon is among the favorites of the hundreds of catering clients she’s served in Rehoboth Beach since opening Mermaid’s Kitchen in 2002.

The former chef de cuisine at The Back Porch Cafe (1986-2001) has her finger on the pulse of what locals crave. “We cater more than 50 parties each summer,” says the native of Camp Hill, Pa., who raised two daughters (Emma and Neva) at the beach in her husband’s grandparents’ summer house. “Bill and I love this house, this town, and are honored to be part of the Rehoboth Beach community.” 

Richardson’s love for the residents was evident during the pandemic. When most of the parties she was booked to cater were canceled, she began delivering dinners. “We made healthy, nutritious meals and dropped them off at the door. It helped a lot of people who were afraid to go out to the grocery store.”

Considered a celebrity chef in the region, Richardson can frequently be seen in local grocery stores where she chooses the freshest ingredients for her dishes. “It’s best to get to the store or Fifer’s [Farm Kitchen near Dewey Beach] at 9 a.m. to find the best produce. If you get there earlier, the staff hasn’t stocked the shelves yet. If you arrive much later, the best stuff has been picked over.”

That’s important to know, she insists, especially for the grilled salmon and sushi rice salad recipe she is sharing. “Grilling is my favorite way to cook during the summer,” says Richardson. Of course, presentation of the dish is key. “Presentation has been important to me because I think people first eat with their eyes. I believe my customers appreciate when the dish looks as good as it tastes.”


(Serves 4)

For the rice:

  • 2 cups of sushi rice (or short-grain rice, either white or brown)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt


STEP 1 Cook the rice for 25 minutes.

STEP 2 Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. 


For the dressing:

  • 1⁄2 cup of mirin
  • 1⁄2 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped pickled ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of prepared wasabi (or to taste)


STEP 1 Pour ingredients into a jar and shake or whisk.

STEP 2 Let sit for 5 minutes to allow ingredients to combine.

For the salad:

  • 1 cup of diced, peeled and seeded cucumber
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds

STEP 1 Add half of the dressing to the rice. 

STEP 2 Add the cucumber, carrot, cilantro and sesame seeds.

STEP 3 Mix and serve at room temperature.

For the salmon:

  • 1 whole side of salmon, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • French beans for garnish


STEP 1 Rinse salmon and pat dry, then place on a clean sheet pan.

STEP 2 Rub with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

STEP 3 Place salmon on a barbecue grill on high heat, flesh side down.

STEP 4 Cover with lid for 8 to 10 minutes.

STEP 5 Remove lid and take off the skin of the salmon with tongs.

STEP 6 Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then flip and cook for 5 more minutes, or to desired doneness. (Be careful as the grill or flame may flare up when it comes into contact with the fat from the salmon.)

STEP 7 Remove salmon and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (Note that it will continue cooking as it rests.)

STEP 8 Place three cups of sushi rice salad on a serving platter.

STEP 9 Break salmon into serving-size pieces and arrange on top of the rice.

STEP 10 Before serving, drizzle remaining dressing over the grilled salmon and garnish with blanched French beans tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, chopped lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. n