Pa and I have been meaning to make salmon at home for awhile now. I’ve bought it in the past for myself but it’s been a few years. We frequently order it when eating out but thought it would be fun to try to make it here at the homestead.
One random weekday, not that long ago, I ventured into Whole Foods and perused their fish selections. They had a fair number of salmon options and the most expensive one was on sale. Instead of $29.99/lb, it was only $19.99/lb! It was also described as
la the crème de la crème by the fishmonger? butcher? so I felt I should give it a shot even though holy smokes, 20 bucks is a lot for fish.
Then, the question became, what do we do with it?
Should we bake it, broil it, use it in a soup?
It’s 100 degrees outside.
Obviously, we grill it!
Pa and I both looked around the Internet for grill recipes and discussed our concern about the fish sticking to the grill (a serious conversation, indeed). I happened to remember that I once had salmon on a cedar plank at The Rainforest Cafe (a really cool, really novel restaurant when you are a kid) and wondered if that might solve the stickiness problem.
He ordered some cedar planks from amazon and all we needed was motivation!
(By this time, the salmon had been sliced up and was in the freezer until we found the aforementioned motivation.)
A few days later we were ready to give salmon on a plank a try.
The instructions the planks came with said to soak them for at least sixty minutes and up to twelve hours- we soaked ours for about 5 hours.A 9X13 cake pan was a good size for letting these babies bathe comfortably. It wasn’t until after we actually grilled the salmon that I read that using beer or wine to soak the planks would have also worked well. Since we aren’t wine drinkers and have a number of gifted bottles sitting around, I will happily soak these in white wine the next go ’round.
Beer, on the other hand, we aren’t wasting on something like this.
Pa got the charcoal grill fired up and we were ready to roll!We initially placed the salmon in the middle of the grill (we closed the lid after the necessary photographs).However, we were surprised at how quickly the plank dried out. This was after about ten minutes of grilling.The plank was starting to singe so we moved it away from the center coals.At this point in the grilling process, most people would say, “Hey! It looks ready, time to pull it off!” But…we are kind of particular about how dry our fish is…nothing underdone around here! We ended up leaving the salmon on the grill for another 10 minutes or so.We didn’t brush the plank with olive oil (as was suggested) but the skin lifted right off the plank, no problem!
To further avoid heating the house, we microwaved a potato and a sweet potato for eight and six minutes respectively, wrapped them in foil, and placed them on the grill as well- so easy and steaming hot!No marinades, no rubs, just a little salt and pepper (and butter for Pa) rounded out the smoky taste the salmon absorbed from resting on the cedar plank. It was incredible to me how much I could taste the cedar in every bite of salmon.
We liked it so much, we did it again this past weekend! This time, we used lemon wedges underneath the salmon.Pa got some good shots of the smokiness…And the finished product!Everyone cleaned their plates so I think it was a hit!
To recap, we probably cooked the first filet for 20 minutes and the second filet for 25 minutes, since it was a thicker piece of fish. The first filet was the fancy one from Whole Foods ($19.99/lb), the second from Price Chopper ($8.99/lb). Shake your heads at me all you want, I truly could not tell a difference between the two.
This is so easy to make, especially since you don’t have to flip the fish at all. I think a variety of marinades would work well and I think BBQ sauce would pair well with the cedar flavor, but salt and pepper were just dandy for us.
Hope everyone has a super day!