Today was so busy and jam-packed with chores to do that dinner had to be something simple and familiar. So I picked planked salmon.
Planked fish is an old colonial Virginia tradition, a way of cooking fish that came from the Native Americans in this area. Basically, you’ll take a cedar plank (generally about 6 inches by 12 or 15 inches), soak it in water, put it over a barbecue grill to sear, then put fish fillets on top. Result — heavenly!
Planking is even one of our great state traditions — the annual Shad Planking in April, an event that politicians who aspire to state-wide office always attend.
You’ll need about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds of fresh salmon fillet. First, put that plank in the sink to soak about two hours before you’ll crank up the grill. We’ve been using cedar planks from Primal Grilling. They’re great!Once the plank is soaked, turn on the grill (if gas, choose about 450 degrees Fahrenheit) or get those coals going. Then, sprinkle blackening seasoning over the fillets. I used Whole Foods (365 brand) Cajun Blackening, which has a great balance of kick plus mellowness.
As you can see, we also grilled corn on the cob by wrapping the corn and putting it on the upper rack.
Put the plank on the grill for 30 seconds to sear, then flip and gently place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on the plank. Close the cover. After 10 minutes, remove the salmon. Here’s the “after” photo for you:
Yes, that’s a tenderloin steak in the lower left corner (for me). We served the salmon with mushroom-stuffed tortelloni sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese and creamed spinach.
We paired this with a great Virginia Viognier from Brix & Columns Vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley.
This was a fabulous pairing, with the acidity of the Viognier adding spark to the deep richness of the salmon. Terrific!