There’s just something about salmon cooked on cedar planks that makes it that much more enticing. It must be the smoky flavor from the grill that coaxes the cedar flavor out of the wood and into the fish while also permeating the air with a cedar-smoke-charcoal perfume. After making this dish, I woke up the next day to smell a faint hint of cedar in my hair, as if I was wearing a men’s cologne I was mildly attracted to!
About the cedar. Sure, Cedar planks are readily available wherever you can buy meat or charcoal accessories but I would like to stress the importance of buying SUSTAINABLE WOOD. Outdoor Gourmet offers sustainably reclaimed cedar, milled close to the forest where it was grown, meaning less consumption of resources and fossil fuels for transport.
Ingredients: (this is enough for 2 large servings)
- 2 cedar planks, each one large enough for a large piece of salmon
- Olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Salmon, 2 large fillets, skin off
- Rainbow carrots, sliced thinly (I found these at the farmer’s market, regular carrots are fine to use but make sure you slice them thinly so that they will cook enough on the grill)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- one stick of butter (this is to make compound butter, you will not be using this much butter in this dish!)
- large sprig dill, at least 1/8th cup
- 2 lemons- 1/2 for juice and zest for butter, 1/2= for slicing and putting on top of the salmon as it cooks on the grill
- One loaf italian or cuban bread or your favorite, sliced thickly for Texas Toast
Soak cedar planks on the grill for AT LEAST 30 minutes, preferably one hour. You need to soak them so they don’t catch on fire on the grill.
While the cedar is soaking, go ahead and take your butter out so it will get to room temperature so you can make the lemon dill compound butter.
Chop the carrots lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Drizzle the carrots with olive oil, then add sea salt and pepper. Drizzle the maple syrup onto the carrots. Toss the carrots so they are coated evenly.
Next, take your butter and mix it with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a large sprig of dill. Add approximately 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Mix with a blender or chopper to disperse evenly. Add sea salt to taste.
Preheat the grill to medium, about 350 degrees. Prepare coals or gas burners for indirect heat. Place the cedar planks on the indirect heat and close the lid. Let them sit until they begin to smoke, about 15-20 minutes.
Generously coat the salmon pieces with the lemon-dill butter. Add a lemon slice or two to the top. Add sea salt and pepper on both sides.
Add the salmon to the cedar planks (on indirect heat) and close the lid of the grill. After about 5 minutes, add the veggies to the direct heat side of the grill. Let the salmon grill until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. The salmon will be done when the meat will flake easily with a fork – this should take about 20 minutes (give or take).
When the fish starts to look done, add your texas toast pieces that have also been generously slathered with the compound butter. They will be done with they have grill marks on both sides.
What is fun about cedar planking salmon is that the planks make wonderful serving pieces. I added my veggies and bread to the other side and placed the planks on top of comics from the paper to make a fun place setting.
Sit back, relax, and relish in the face that this easy recipe has now transformed you into a Grilling Goddess with cedar perfumed hair. The house will have a lovely smell for days to remind people what a great cook you are ! Enjoy!