This side of grilled salmon is the ideal summer standby. It’s easy to make, super versatile, and it even tastes great cold the next day—so go ahead and make one even if you don’t have a big party planned this weekend.

For the best grilled salmon, pay attention to the details: Wild salmon typically has less fat than farm-raised, so don’t skimp on the oil. Choosing a skin-on salmon fillet will make things easier to maneuver and prevent sticking. Set up your outdoor grill with two heat zones (one with medium-high heat and the other with no direct heat), and remember to scrape the grill grate well before brushing it with a neutral high-heat oil to prevent sticking. 

With a piece of salmon this large, it’s best not to bother with flipping. Cook it entirely skin side down, over indirect heat, both for ease and to develop deliciously crispy skin without overcooking. The flesh side won’t show any grill marks, but the texture and flavor more than make up for it. But do take advantage of that hot grill and throw some veggies over direct heat to serve alongside.

Serve fresh off the grill with a big squeeze of lemon juice or let it cool to room temperature, paired with one or more sauces for drizzling. How about salsa verde or cilantro-loaded chimichurri? Or something creamy like aioli or a classic tartar sauce? Smoky romesco? Green romesco? Greener still pesto? The final garnish is totally up to you. Round out the meal with marinated zucchini (grilled instead of roasted), potato salad, or a simple green salad with a Dijon vinaigrette.

For even more smoky flavor, try cedar plank salmon. Or, if you’re looking to grill smaller portions, check out crispy grilled salmon fillets with sesame and basil or soy-sauce-basted salmon collars.

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