Cedar Plank Salmon
Cedar plank salmon - it sounds kinda fancy. I've had it in restaurants and thought it was amazing - the salmon gets all smoky and stays moist and rare and everything just kind of comes together in the flavor department. I'm not sure why, but until this past weekend, I'd been too intimidated to try making it myself at home. Last summer we got our first real grill - so technically we've had the ability to make cedar plank salmon for well over a year - but I'd dismissed it as "too fancy" or "too complicated". My friend Emily sent me a few planks in the mail last year (along with some of her amazing homemade jams - they are literally addictive), but they've just sat in my pantry until now. So what changed all of this? Necessity. Last weekend we invited friends over to grill, and I decided I wanted to make salmon - but didn't know what on earth I should do with it. I wasn't in the mood for kebabs, I didn't want to cook it on foil, I don't have one of those nifty fish baskets - what do I do with this amazingly fresh, beautiful sockeye salmon? I asked the fishmonger at the store for a suggestion - and he nodded towards the cedar plans on the counter. "Try one of these planks - really easy and the fish turns out great." I asked him exactly HOW the process worked, and he literally said, "Soak the plank. Put it on the grill. Put the salmon on the plank. Close the grill. Cook it." At that point, how could I not try it? He made it sound so easy! So I did just that - followed his instructions exactly - and was rewarded with the tastiest salmon I've ever had. Our guests and The Mr. and I literally devoured it - I could have eaten two servings. And now I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've avoided this whole "grill it on a plank" situation for so long - because it really is that easy, and it really is worth it.
Cedar Plank Salmon
- 4 (6-ounce) wild salmon fillets, skin-on (I used sockeye salmon)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- lemon wedges
- 2 small cedar planks, soaked 3 hours (or more) in water
- Fire up your grill - prepare the coals, turn on the gas, whatever it is you need to do to get the flames going. While your grill heats up, get your salmon ready.
- Gently rub the top of the salmon fillets with a little bit of olive oil (you don't need a lot - the fish is plenty oily on its own). Sprinkle the tops of the fillets with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Once the grill is heated, lay the planks on the grill. Lay the salmon fillets on the planks, skin-side down (I fit 2 fillets on each plank). Put the lid on the grill, and let the fish cook until almost cooked through, but still dark pink and rare in the middle, anywhere from 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. As you can see in the photos, my fillets are a little bit overdone for my taste - I like them really rare.
- Remove the planks from the grill and using a fish spatula, slide the salmon fillets off the skin and onto a serving plate. Serve immediately, squeezing fresh lemon wedges over the fillets at the table.