Cedar Plank Salmon
The weather is changing and memories of warm summer BBQ’s are becoming just that, memories. Fear not! There is still time to get in some end of the season BBQ’ing. Or, if you are anything like me, put on your parka and get that grill going even in a blizzard. You won’t be thinking that’s such a crazy idea after you taste this mouth watering Cedar Plank Salmon.
Salmon fillets, skin on.
Shallots (1/2 – 1 small shallot per fillet)
Garlic (1/2 – 1 clove per fillet)
Fresh Dill (a small handful- enough when chopped to completely cover one side of the filet)
Lemon (1/4 fresh lemon per fillet)
Cajun/creole seasoning (a shake or two- enough to coat one side of the fillet
Sea Salt (to sprinkle on the cedar plank and a sprinkle on each fillet)
A cedar plank.
A water spritz bottle filled with fresh water.
First Step: You can buy a cedar plank at most grocery stores. No need to chop down the tree in your backyard. Soak the cedar plank in a clean sink for a minimum of an hour. It floats so I weigh mine down with a giant liquor bottle…I mean..my huge bottle of protein powder…
Prepare the Salmon:
Finely chop shallots and crush the garlic- mix together in a small bowl.
Chop the fresh dill (do not use dried..it is not the same). Remove thick stems from the dill. You can include most of the stems if you chop it finely enough.
Slice a wedge off the lemon.
Place salmon skin side down. Coat the top side of the fillet with Cajun seasoning. I have a heavy hand with my seasoning. Just make sure that your seasoning does not have salt in it and look out for added MSG (monosodium glutamate). Avoid it.
Squeeze lemon juice over each fillet. Spread chopped shallot and garlic mixture evenly on the skinless side of the fillet. It may seem like a lot of onion and garlic but it’s delicious. Trust me. Add a crack or two of your freshly cracked sea salt.
Top each fillet with the chopped dill. Make sure after washing the dill you dry it well. All of these ingredients together will become the crust as it slowly BBQ’s.
Prepare the BBQ:
Turn on the BBQ. Place the soaked cedar plank off to one side of the grill. Set the flame to medium-low underneath the plank. Set the flame to high on the side without the cedar plank.
Freshly crack sea salt (coarse grind) onto the surface of the cedar plank.
Carefully (don’t knock off the dill topping) place fillet skin side down onto the cedar plank. Don’t crowd the fish together on the plank. Separate fillets by about 1 inch.
Close the BBQ lid. Try to keep the lid closed (no peeking) so the heat circulates, making the dill crisp up.
There is a chance that the cedar plank may catch on fire. That’s what the spray bottle is for. Open the BBQ lid (…I know, I know..I just told you not too!) and generously spritz the plank until the flame goes out. Close the lid again.
Depending on the thickness and your preferred doneness of the salmon fillets and the heat of your BBQ they can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Look at the side of each fillet. If they are completely opaque and firm they are done.
I always do the press test. Poke the centre of the fillet gently with your index finger. If it feels firm it should be cooked to about medium.
Serve with a spinach salad topped with dried cranberries, thinly sliced vidalia onions, lightly toasted pecans, and a splash of raspberry vinaigrette.