I really love planked fish, especially salmon and especially in warmer weather. It’s a cooking method that became fashionable some years ago but that has deep Native American roots in this continent. It involves taking a plank of wood — cedar or maple, for instance — that is then soaked in water before being put over hot coals with fish or chicken on top. In Virginia, it’s even entered the political world, with an annual Shad Planking down in the Richmond area. (Shad and shad roe will be the subject of another post, btw!)
Back to business. Tonight, I made planked salmon fillets to go with twice-cooked potatoes and asparagus (recipe coming next week). The most important thing to remember about planked-anything is to soak the planks at least one or ideally two hours in advance!!
Now, we’ll assume that you’ve done that and will start by assembling our ingredients: 1 1/4 pound of fresh salmon fillet, one cedar plank (soaked, of course), smoked sea salt, and herbes de Provence (not shown: olive oil). And that’s it!
Cut the salmon into four 5-ounce pieces.
Place the fillets on the cedar plank. (Yes, I know one fillet is curved, but the big fillet we bought was bigger than I’d anticipated!) Rub with olive oil, then sprinkle with the herbs and about a teaspoon (total) of the smoked sea salt. (I used Gourmet Nut’s Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt, which was a birthday gift a little while ago.)
Place the plank over a hot grill. We have a gas grill, which I preheated to about 500 degrees, Fahrenheit. But you can also use a gas grill or even a very hot oven. (In the latter case, place the plank directly on the racks, with a flat cookie or baking sheet on the rack under that one.)
Then, cover the grill and let the salmon cook for 10 minutes. Have faith! The plank will not burn! Here’s what it looks like 10 minutes later:
With a spatula, remove the fillets from the plank onto a serving platter or board. Then serve!
We served this tonight with a wonderful Virginia 2014 reserve Chardonnay from Casanel Vineyards that was lightly kissed by oak. Perfect combination. (For more about this wine, see our Facebook blog!)