Tips for grilling summer seafood

  • Woodfired fresh king salmon with grilled Delta Asparagus with egg plant puree and cherry reduction at Nick's Cove in Marshall, Wednesday June 6, 2012. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

While king salmon swim against the current to spawn upstream in the Sacramento River each spring, the people who love to eat them move in the opposite direction.

Come early summer, seafood lovers point their noses to the coast, where they can whet their appetites on briny oysters, then dig into salmon filets, grilled to off-the-hook perfection.

You can find both of these delicacies at Nick's Cove in Marshall, where Executive Chef Austin Perkins serves up California Coastal Cuisine that's sourced from the shores of West Marin and beyond.

And the 27-year-old Petaluma native has tips galore on how to grill fish and seafood to summertime perfection.

Nick's Cove is known for its fresh seafood, but legend has it that was also the first restaurant ever to serve barbecued oysters.

The 1930s-era fishing and hunting lodge was reborn as a high-end hideaway in 2007, after San Francisco restaurant designer Pat Kuleto spent $10 million restoring the rundown roadhouse, fishing pier and cottages back to their rustic glory.

The resort, which was sold last year, is just a half-hour's drive from Petaluma and 45 minutes from Santa Rosa.

You can still order The Original Tomales Bay BBQ'D Oyster, which boasts a secret barbecue sauce inspired by the original recipe, or Baked Oyster Mornay, smothered with cheese and bread crumbs.

But real oyster lovers may prefer the light flavor of Grilled Oysters "Nick-erfeller," made with a splash of licorice-scented Pernod, fresh tarragon and butter.

"Our phlosophy is not to manipulate things too much," Perkins said. "I like to taste all the components as complementary but not overwhelming."

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