Most people have a few super easy, go-to recipes that don’t take a lot of thought, ingredients or prep-time. I decided that it’s time to share one of mine. The only problem is that it doesn’t really have a name. “Cedar Plank Salmon” sounds way too complicated, making it somewhat of a misnomer because this recipe is truly a no-brainer, oh-so-good, and -bonus!- really good for you.
You can use any type of salmon you want, but because the cedar plank and these two (yes, just two!) ingredients impart so much flavor, I advise using the healthier wild caught variety. Wild caught salmon is leaner (less fatty) and therefore to some, tastes a little stronger, “gamier” if you will. This is because salmon in the wild have to do things like avoid predators, swim upstream to spawn, basically survive, while their farm-raised counterparts get to hang out in pools. This makes farm-raised salmon higher in heart-healthy Omega 3 fats, but also higher in other types of fats including saturated fat. All of that aforementioned exercise wild salmon get results in 50% fewer fat grams, three times less saturated fat and 32% fewer calories per serving than farm-raised salmon. Wild salmon also contains more calcium, potassium, iron and zinc than farm-raised.
What makes this recipe so easy is that you simply mix Montreal steak seasoning and brown sugar and sprinkle it on your fillets before you grill them on cedar planks. The quantities of each ingredient are so small that you don’t have to question if I’ve suddenly lost my mind by suggesting that you add sugar to your dinner entree. You’re adding fewer than 3.5 grams of sugar and less than 13 calories to each serving. Just a little adds a lot of flavor.
If you don’t have a grill or (God forbid) you put it away when winter comes (I’ll never understand that)… don’t despair! You can put the cedar planks right into the oven which will also impart the delicious cedar flavor into the fish.
Cedar planks are easy to find. Most larger grocery stores carry them or you can order them online. Although this recipe is quick and easy, you have to think about it in advance because you need to soak the cedar plank for 1 – 2 hours prior to use. Make sure the plank is completely submerged in water and not just floating.
Heat the grill to medium-high, place the fish on the soaked plank, the plank on the grill and close the lid. Grilling times will vary, but a general rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound of fish. Since this is the leaner, wild caught variety, however, you’ll want to check it at 10-11 minutes. You probably know that I am obsessed with meat thermometers to reach the safest and usually best tasting degree of doneness. Fish should be about 135 degreesF.
It’s a good idea to keep a spray water bottle near the grill in case the cedar plank catches fire. Once you remove the fish from the plank, you can just as easily remove the skin too. If you grill without the skin, the fish will take on even more of the cedar plank woodsy flavor. Planks can (apparently) be reused. Just clean off, dry and store away. Ok, I’ll admit, mine are usually too charred for that to really work and get thrown away.Serve with a starch or starchy vegetable of your choice, a side veggie or salad (or both!). You might find, as I have, that you can convert even the most resistant fish eaters to this dish. It’s that good!
(Note: You can use this recipe even without using a cedar plank by simply reducing the grill temperature to medium and reducing the cooking time – there’s no need to “flip” the fish).
- 1-2 cedar planks (enough to place salmon fillets without overlapping)
- 4 (6 ounce) wild caught coho salmon fillets (with or without skin)
- 2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- Submerge cedar planks in water and soak for 1 - 2 hours.
- Mix Montreal steak seasoning with brown sugar. Sprinkle seasoning combination evenly on top of fillets. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat (350-425 degrees F).
- Place fish on cedar plank(s).
- Place cedar planks on grill. Close grill.
- Grill 10-12 minutes, checking periodically to avoid planks taking flame.
- Test doneness with a meat thermometer placed into the thickest part of the fish, aiming for 135 degrees F.
- Remove planks from grill and fish from planks.