Planked salmon is simple to prepare, the plank acting as a buffer between the delicate fish and intense heat of the grill while infusing the meat with flavour as it smoulders. Untreated cedar planks are inexpensive, and can be found in the seafood department of most grocery stores. Coat any veggies you have on hand, like asparagus, broccolini, peppers and zucchini, in oil and grill them alongside the salmon. Leftovers can be tossed into a quick pasta salad for lunch or dinner the next day.
Soak your plank for half an hour or so beforehand, then place it on a preheated grill until it starts to smoulder. Place your fish on the plank – use your favourite marinade, or just sprinkle with salt and pepper – cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until the edge of the fish flakes. It’s a good idea to have a spray bottle of water on hand in case of flare-ups.
1 1/2 lb (750 g) salmon or steelhead trout filet
fresh asparagus, peppers, broccolini, zucchini or other veggies
olive or canola oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp grated ginger
Soak an untreated cedar plank in water for at least half an hour. This is easy to do in the sink – just place a pan or other object on the plank to keep it submerged. Trim your veggies and toss with oil to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the glaze ingredients (if you’re using a glaze) and spread over the surface of the salmon. Otherwise, sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Preheat your grill to medium-high and place your plank on the grill for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to smoulder. Place the filet on the plank. Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes, lifting the lid occasionally to check for flares. Place the veggies on the grill alongside and cook for another 5–10 minutes, opening and closing the lid as you need to, until the fish is cooked through (fat will rise to the surface, and the edge should flake with a fork) and the veggies are tender-crisp. Serves 4.
Toss leftover cold flaked salmon with cooked chunky pasta, any leftover grilled veggies, grape tomatoes, crumbled feta, fresh herbs and balsamic or red wine vinegar vinaigrette. Or make an Asian-style pasta salad with carrots, pea pods, blanched broccoli and sesame-ginger vinaigrette.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Summer 2017.