Planked Salmon with Pesto

Today was a day for appreciating birthday gifts! And the gifts that I appreciated the most were (1) a gift card to a local spa (where I went this afternoon for a lovely, relaxing aromatherapy facial); (2) a bottle of French Sauvignon Blanc (more on that on my Facebook wine blog!); and (3) a lovely recipe from a cookbook on planked foods, titled Planking Secrets by Ron Shewchuk.

Tonight, I made planked salmon fillet with homemade pesto sauce. We’ve had planked salmon and pesto sauce many times before but never together. They were a fabulous combination!

Before we move on to the ingredients, here’s the cedar plank that I used. We were down to only one plank left so I ordered planks from a couple of sources on Amazon.com, with both sets coming from Canada. This is the one I used tonight.

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It’s nice and large, so lots of room for lots of things on top. As always, be sure to soak the plank at least two hours before grilling. I often use the kitchen sink for this, since it’s easy and accessible.

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Now, the ingredients for this recipe. For the pesto, one cup of fresh basil leaves; six garlic cloves, crushed; 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (or Parmeggiano-Reggiano); about one cup of olive oil (not shown); salt and pepper to taste (also not shown); and (forgotten tonight but also good) about two tablespoons of pine nuts. And, of course, the fresh salmon fillet (I used 3/4 of a pound, but one pound cut into four slices would also work).

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First, wash and dry the basil leaves.

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Then put the basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil into a blender. (If you also have pine nuts, add them now.) Also add a dash of salt and pepper.

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Process until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl.

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When ready to grill, heat the grill to about 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Once heated, place the (fully soaked) plank on the grill and lower the lid. (Heating the plank allows the aromas to start to release.)

Cut or slice the salmon into individual serving sizes, then spread pesto sauce on top.

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Place on the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

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We served this tonight with two Sauvignon Blanc wines, one from France (Danielle de l’Ansée) and one from Virginia (Veritas, down in the Monticello AVA around Charlottesville). The richness of the salmon and pesto were a perfect contrast to the crispness of the wines. (Sauvignon Blanc is one of my go-to food wines at restaurants these days!) You can read more about the wines here.

Cheers! And enjoy!

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