Cedar plank salmon has been a traditional meal for centuries among the tribes of America’s Pacific Northwest. Cooked over an open fire, the cedar imbues the hearty fish with a sweetly smoked flavor. In Vancouver, summer and fall were prime seasons for tribes to go salmon fishing along the Fraser River when species like Sockeye, Chinook, and Coho would run upstream. Today, the bays and islands around Vancouver are still prime locations for salmon fishing and a salmon grilled on a cedar plank is one of the best treats after a long hunting day. Our recipe is a smoky nod to the piney forests and rushing rivers of the Pacific Northwest.
BT’s CEDAR PLANK SALMON WITH HERB-TOMATO DRESSING RECIPE
Serves 4 Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes [2 hours preparation; 35 minutes cooking]
WHAT YOU NEED
The Fish The Dressing
4 cedar planks (5″ x 12″ size) 2 shallots, finely diced
4 salmon fillets, skin on (6-8 ounces per person, approximately 2 pounds total)
Kosher salt 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Fresh ground pepper 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons canola oil 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 drops Tabasco sauce (more or less as preferred)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (more or less as preferred)
WHAT TO DO
For the salmon:
1. Soak the cedar planks in salted water for 2 hours, then drain and set aside. Rinse the salmon under cold running water and pat dry.
2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Lay the salmon skin-side down on the cedar plank and brush lightly with oil.
3. Set grill to high heat and preheat for 10 minutes. Reduce grill heat to medium.
4. Place the empty cedar planks on grill rack for 5 minutes or until the planks begins to gently smoke. Leave a little space in between each plank so that the heat can disperse on all sides. Place fillets on planks, cover the grill and allow to cook for 20 minutes or until the fish is done. Salmon should be cooked once it flakes easily at its thickest part when inserted with a fork.
For the dressing:
1. Place shallots, chives, parsley, olive oil, vinegars, tomato sauce,* Tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a mixing bowl and stir together.
2. Drizzle over cooked salmon and serve.
* BT Tip: To add a sweet and tangy flavor, you can substitute tomato ketchup for the sauce.