Healthy living and food choices are a trend on the rise, hopefully giving McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Arby’s a run for their money. One four-ounce serving of baked or broiled salmon contains two grams of omega-3 fatty acid and plenty of Vitamins B12, D, B3, B6, selenium, phosphorous, biotin, and potassium. It’s a rich source of protein and amino acids.
Grilling salmon on cedar planks absorbs the heat from the fire, cooks the salmon evenly, and releases a scent and a flavor that cannot be beat. It also requies no use of extra oil or butter, keeping those calories down.
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon
-1 cedar plank (6 by 14 inches)
-2 salmon fillets
-Salt and pepper to taste
-6 T. Dijon or course ground mustard
-6 T. brown sugar
Soak the cedar plank in salted water for a minimum of two hours. Remove skin from salmon along with any remaining bones.
Rinse salmon under cold water. Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Lay salmon on the cedar plank, on what was its skin-side. Spread mustard on the top and sides of each fillet. Top with brown sugar.
If you have a propane grill, set it to medium heat. If you are like me and have the old Weber charcoal grill, heat the coals until they’re just gray and still slightly flaming. Place the plank in center of the grate, cover and cook the fillets for 20-30 minutes.
The fillet’s internal temperature should be 135 degrees for a medium-rare, juicy salmon. For those who like their salmon slightly more well done, give it another three to five minutes, but no more than that. Allow the salmon to rest on the plank for a minute and serve immediately right off of the plank.
If you do not have two hours to soak the plank beforehand, there is a solution. Soak it ahead of time and freeze it. When ready to cook, just place the salmon on the frozen plank and set it on the grill.
News of mercury and pesticides in fish have made some people fearful of this highly nutritious food. However, there are wonderful sources of salmon out there. Wild-caught Alaskan, southeast Alaskan chum, sockeye, coho, pink, and chinook salmon, along with Kodiak coho, pink, and chum, are at the least risk of contaminants, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. Farmed salmon is proving to be less safe and to utilize unsustainable practices with ecological repercussions. Note: Salmon labeled “organic” has been farmed.
We are fortunate to have a local fisherman who provides safe salmon to stores and restaurants in our region. So enjoy your summer, your grill, and plenty of salmon!
Tom Walchuk is one of those dreaded foodies you hear tell of. Near as he can tell, that means he likes food—a lot. Decades in the restaurant business, starting on the knee of Grandma Lupe, will do that to a man. Join him on this new journey with Eat Smart, another turn of the page and perhaps a healthy new start for us all.