Long before European settlers arrived, Indian tribes throughout America were roasting fish on aromatic planks of wood. This method of cooking is simple, fast, and delicious. When warmed, the plank imparts a deep, wood-smoked flavor to the fish as it cooks. In this recipe, I’ve added some brown sugar for sweetness and paprika for fruitiness.
Helpful hint: After removing the cooked fish from the cedar plank, place the plank in a container of water to cool. Planks can generally be reused twice.
I’ve included below my recipes for Sugar Snap Peas and (southern style) Potato Salad as they make great side dishes to the Cedar Plank Salmon.
Cedar Plank Salmon
Make potato salad:
- Cut each potato into thirds. Place in a large pot and submerge with water by 1 inch. Add the salt, cover, and bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes pierce easily with a sharp paring knife. You want some of the potato to be mashable—that’s one characteristic of southern style potato salad. Drain water and cool potatoes in a large bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins from the potatoes and place in large mixing bowl. Use a paring knife to dice up the cooked potatoes. Add the remaining ingredients to the potatoes. Mix well with a rubber spatula. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until serving time.
Sauté the sugar snap peas:
- Remove and discard the stem end and string from each sugar snap pod.
- Warm the oil in a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add the sugar snap peas, garlic powder, and onion salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas are crisp yet tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Keep warm.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place soaked cedar plank on grate and close lid. When the plank crackles and smokes, it’s ready for the salmon. (This usually takes about 5 minutes.)
- Rub the salmon with olive oil and salt, and place it on the plank. Mix together the brown sugar and paprika and sprinkle the mixture on top. Close grill lid and cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until salmon easily flakes. Garnish the salmon with the peas and tomatoes. Serve with the potato salad.