Cedar Plank Salmon

Let’s follow up my previous Baked Rainbow Trout post with this one.  This is another fish recipe I have.  Funny thing is that I have been eating salmon all my life and I have been seeing and hearing about cooking salmon no a cedar plank but I have never tried to make it myself.  I finally tried it and it was wonderful.  Just like the trout, salmon is a very good place to start if you’re not use to eating fish.  This recipe works great for lunch, dinner or shared as an appetizer  Hope you enjoy.

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This is the cedar plank I picked up.  I found it my local hardware store (Canadian Tire, for you canadians out there).  The package did have instructions as to how long to soak the planks for.  I have also read mulitple articles and comments on how long you should soak the cedar plank in water the first time you use it.  I soaked it in water overnight – just leave it there and you don’t have to watch it – it didn’t really make a difference for me.

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Here is a beautiful cut of salmon.  I just portioned it – I cooked 4 of these fillets and saved the rest for another day (it turned out to be the very next day) – be careful though, the quality of fish goes down pretty quickly so try to use up as much fish as you can – you shouldn’t leave it in the fridge for longer periods of time like you would for other meats.  Also even these pre cut salmon fillets might still have bones in them so feel along the fish with your hands to see if any are still poking out.  If so, remove them (I find the easiet way is to get a pair of tweezers and pull them out.

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DSC03123I seasoned the fish with some coarse salt, pepper and of course dill.  Dill has become one of my new favorite herbs.  That is all you really need – no point of over seasoning the fish, I like to let the fish shine.

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Place the cedar plank on a pre heated grill.  You should pre heat the grill as if you were cooking on it normally.  I put a little canola oil on the plank and seasoned the plank with salt and pepper.  Close the door and let the plank cook for a few minutes, just to get some of the smoke going

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Next, place the seasoned salmon fillets on the plank.  You can put some sliced lemon on top if you would like – lemon works really well with salmon so it doesn’t hurt to throw some lemon on top.

Now I have read a lot of different recipes about direct and indirect heat when it comes to cooking salmon on a cedar plank.   Direct heat cooks the salmon a bit faster so be careful not to overcook the fish.  I ended up doing a mixture of both.  I started off with direct heat and switched over to indirect half way through.  Be careful when you do this, you don’t want to keep the lid up for too long as the smoke escapes so do this quickly or just stick with one.

Close the top and cook for about 20 minutes

– Direct heat is basically when you have the plank directly over the flames.  Indirect is when you turn off 1 side, place the plank on the OFF side and use the grill like an oven-

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This is the salmon right off the grill.

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I put the salmon on top of a salad made with spinach, tomoatos and carrot shreds.  Any salad of your choice would work.

DSC03140 DSC03142Here is the same salad but I added goat cheese and a little drizzle of a wasabe mustard vinaigrette I made with wasabe, olive oil, wasabe and apple cider vinegar – this is completely optional and not necessary.  Feel free to ask me about the vinaigrette if you have any questions about it since I’m not going into details about it.

The fish is very moist inside and you can taste the smokiness from the cedar plank.  The dill and the lemon compliments it so well.  Absolutely amazing.  I know it’s getting cooler out and next thing you know, snow is going to be in the forecast (for us Canadians at least).  Grilling outside might not be an option.  I have read you could do this in an indoor oven.  I personally have not done this, if you have before or if you end up trying that let me know how it goes!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 Salmon fillets

Cedar plank

Bunch of dill weed – chopped

Lemon cut into slices

Salt and pepper

Salad: (optional)

Spinach

tomatoes

carrots

goat cheese

wasabe vinaigrette

Directions:

1. Soak cedar plank in water for however long the package instructs you to – general rule of thumb – soak for at least an hour before cooking(you can reuse a plank as long as it is not completely burnt – soaking the plank after the first use is optional)

2. Cut salmon into fillets and debone if needed (if you bought salmon fillets then you don’t need to cut them again)

3. Pre-heat grill as you would normally cook on it

4. While pre-heating season salmon with salt, pepper and chopped dill

5. When grill is hot, turn off one side (if possible) then place cedar plank on the side that is still on for 4 minutes – you could season the plank with salt and pepper if you want.

6.  Place salmon on top of cedar plank and layer lemon slices over salmon

7. Move the plank over to the OFF side  of the grill and close the lid and cook with indirect heat for 20 minutes

– you could also do a half and half – close the lid for the first 10 minutes and then move the plank over to the indirect side of the grill for the remainder.

There seems to be a lot of steps but a lot of the steps are things like cut your salmon, or preheat your grill, soak your plank in water etc.  So don’t be discouraged by the number of steps.

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