Cedar planked salmon is an elegant and delicious way to serve grilled fish
Isn’t it lovely when you can present a meal to family and friends that makes it look like you either spent hours in the kitchen, or possess master culinary skills? We love that! And we also love to explain to impressed eaters that sometimes looks can be deceiving. Like this cedar planked salmon. The beautiful presentation of this salmon is so simple and so elegant that it can be served on a busy weeknight as easily as it can be served at a fancy weekend dinner party.
Salmon is a particularly delicious fish and one we eat often. However, if you don’t like salmon (maybe that’s because you haven’t tried it this way yet), you can certainly try this recipe with another fish, like trout.
Grilling the fish on the cedar plank is wonderful for so many reasons. First, you don’t have to worry about your fish sticking to the grill and then falling apart when you try to remove it. (We can’t believe that we’re the only ones this has happened to). But more importantly, the cedar plank imparts an incredible flavour of smokiness to the salmon that is difficult to describe, but easy to love.
We hope that you find the answers to any questions you may have below. If you’re still wondering about something, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment, or send us an email.
Where can I find cedar planks?
Most well stocked grocery stores or home supply stores will sell cedar planks for grilling where they display their other grilling accessories and tools. You can also order them online. However, here’s a tip. If you are handy (or someone in your house is) and you have access to a rotary saw, or manual saw, you can purchase untreated cedar planks from construction stores. An 8 foot plank will cost you approximately 20$ Canadian. Take that home, cut it up into 1 foot long planks and you’ll have 7 to 8 planks for the cost of one or two sold specifically for cooking. You’re welcome.
Do I have to soak my cedar plank before using it?
For sure! If you don’t, your wood will catch fire. It’s therefore important that you soak your plank for a minimum of 2 hours. You should also consider keeping a water bottle near your grill in case you need to extinguish any flames on your wood. It shouldn’t happen, but you never know. Better safe than sorry.
Can I re-use my cedar plank?
You can! Unless it is completely charred (which it shouldn’t be) you can wash your cedar plank well and re-use it at least once.
How do I remove the plank off of the grill?
Carefully! It will be hot so the best way to do this is to either lift it off using a large spatula (and a steady hand) or to use oven mitts to carefully lift and transfer it onto a platter.
Can I use something other than cedar?
Cedar planked salmon is very wonderful and delicious, but there are other options. Wood such as apple, cherry or maple can also be used, if you can find it. The important thing is to be sure that it is untreated and free of chemicals. The plank should also be about 1/2 inch thick, minimally.
What if I don’t have a cedar plank?
That’s okay – if you want to grill your salmon and don’t have a wooden plank you can place your fish on a piece of aliminum foil, or heavy duty cooking paper. You won’t get the flavour of the wood, but your salmon will still shine!
Can the salmon be cooked in the oven?
Yes! When the weather does not cooperate, you can still enjoy the wonderful flavour of cedar planked salmon by cooking it in the oven. Follow these simple steps:
- Soak your cedar plank for 1 hour
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare your salmon as per the recipe below.
- Place a flat rack on a baking sheet (line the baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup if desired).
- Drain the cedar plank and place it on top of the rack. Place on middle rack of your oven for about 5 minutes (without the fish).
- Remove baking sheet, rack and cedar plank from oven and place fish on the plank.
- Return to oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. The salmon is done when if flakes easily with a fork.
What is the difference between wild and farmed salmon?
Grocery stores, specialty markets and fishmongers sell two main categories of salmon, farmed and wild. Within the farmed category, you may also have access to salmon raised without antibiotics. There are differences among these categories but it is important to remember that despite the type of salmon you purchase, it is typically a very good food choice and has positive health benefits when eaten in moderation.
In summary, wild salmon is exactly what you would think – salmon living and caught in the wild, either oceans, rivers or lakes. Farmed salmon is raised and caught in a controlled environment, specific for the production of food.
Compared to farmed salmon, wild salmon is lower in calories and fat, higher in saturated fats and is free of antibiotics and toxins. Levels of Omega 3 are slightly lower in wild salmon, but Omega 6 levels are also much lower than they are in farmed salmon. This means that the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is 1:10 in wild salmon; this is very good.
One of the biggest concerns with farmed salmon is the presence of organic pollutants like PCB. Antibiotics can also be concerning, although you can find farmed salmon raised without the use of antibiotics.
Most experts agree that if offered the choice, wild salmon is superior to farmed fish. Having said that, the cost and availability of wild caught salmon may be prohibitive to many. If that is the case, do not fear. For most people, salmon of any kind offers enough good fat, nutrients and minerals to be an important part of your diet. If you would like to read more, we found these resources to be very helpful. Click here and here to access the articles.
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What can I serve my salmon with?
Cedar planked salmon makes for a lovely, light meal that’s full of flavour. We love to serve this grilled fish with a simple green salad like our maroulosalata and some vegetable studded rice. Filling, fresh and so, so good!
If you love fish and seafood, we’ve got these other recipes that you may want to try:
We love hearing from you! If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!, please leave a comment below!
Cedar planked salmon
- Cedar plank
- Outdoor grill
- 1 1/2 pounds salmon filet preferably with skin on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 - 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
- 1 - 2 tsp dry oregano
- salt, to taste preferably kosher salt
- At least 2 hours before you are planning to cook your fish soak your cedar plank in water. You may need to place a can or other heavy object on your plank in order to keep it submerged.
- Heat your charcoal or gas grill to medium heat (approximately 350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- After your plank has soaked for a minimum of 2 hours, remove it from the water and place your salmon filet on it, skin side down. If you are using skinless salmon, brush a little bit of olive oil on the plank before placing the fish on it.
- Brush some olive oil on the top of your salmon. Sprinkle with salt and oregano. Place the lemon rounds on top of your fish along with the fresh rosemary sprigs.
- Transfer the plank with the salmon carefully to your grill. Cook for approximately 12 - 15 minutes, until uniformly pink on the inside. Start checking your salmon at the 12 minute mark (cooking time will vary depending on the actual heat of your grill, and the thickness of your filet).
- Once done, remove the plank and the salmon from the grill and set aside. To serve, you can present the entire filet and portion it out on the table. Otherwise, portion it out prior to serving. If your filet had skin on it, the skin will typically remain on the plank as you lift off the salmon meat.