I have a buddy named Chris. It is possible that he is one of the funniest men on the planet, but another skill that he possesses is grilling. He has generously agreed to share with my WELLFITandFED readers, his recipe for Cedar Plank Salmon.
Welcome, my first guest blogger!
“Summer in the Northwest is full of spoils – beautiful weather, lakes, mountains, and right now, one of the best runs of sockeye salmon in recent memory. In addition to being delicious, sockeye salmon is packed full of flavor and omega-3 fatty acids. As part of this great run of sockeye, you are seeing prices in the sub $7/lb. range. That is a BARGAIN, especially for such a wonderful protein that is so easy to prepare. This post is all about preparation – so here we go!
Salmon, cooked on a cedar plank, has a lot going for it. The flavor that comes from a small amount of cedar smoke adds a dimension of “earthiness” to the fish that is really spectacular. In addition, cooking salmon on a plank really helps control the temperature on the bottom side of the fish, which yields impressive results.
Some time ago, an enterprising fellow decided that he would cut up cedar shingles, put them in plastic wrap, and start selling them for $10. They were called “grilling planks.” Here’s a dirty little secret about “grilling planks” – they are just sanded wood pieces. People pay enormous amounts of money for a sanded piece of cedar, while that money could be better spent on things like: wine, sea salt and fresh oysters!
Here’s your summer tip for preparing salmon on the BBQ grill. Go to your local hardware store (i.e. Loews, Home Depot, etc.) and pick out a few untreated cedar fence boards. For $1.38 you can get a 5-foot board that gives you 3 perfect grilling planks. Make sure that board is untreated, and give it a quick scrub with a hose and brush when you get home. Cut the board into 3, 20’ planks and call it good.
Prior to cooking the salmon, soak the planks for 15 minutes in water. Be sure to cook over medium heat on your grill. You want the wood to smolder, not burst into enormous flames! You can lay a whole filet on the planks or portion out your fish ahead of time. (Be sure to pull out the pin bones in your filet) I like to portion my fish because it gives it a really even result. Season the fish with a good sea salt and black pepper, place the plank full of lovely fish directly over your grill’s flame, stand around drinking wine for 10 to 12 minutes, and then you’re done! Feel free to garnish it as you see fit, and don’t be afraid to serve it directly off the plank.
NOTE: There is no need to get fancy with spices when preparing fresh sockeye salmon. People overcook and over season this fish all of the time. It came out of the ocean pretty magical – Don’t screw up the magic.”