One of our favorite meals is planked salmon on the grill. It’s insanely easy and makes the best tasting salmon you’ve ever tasted. You can purchase precut planks at most grocery stores now, and many meat departments will sell you a plank when you buy your fish.
As always with seafood, buy the freshest cuts you can. When you get home soak the plank in water for at least two hours before cooking. I have a large, low-sided plastic vessel that I use for making bread dough- it’s also the perfect size for immersing my planks in. You will need to put a weight on top of the plank to keep it immersed, I use a pint glass filled with water.
THE STANDARD METHOD — I like to cook a single large salmon filet, but sometimes precut filets are all you can get. If you’re doing single, smaller pieces your cooking time is reduced. I have been asked by friends how you know the fish is done (cooked through). I tell them “when you peek at the fish and it looks so delicious you’d be willing to stick your face into the flame and start eating” – then it’s done.
Actually, the fish will crisp to a gorgeous, golden-rust color on the outside and stay moist and flakey on the inside. Check the coloring of the fattest part of the filet. When it’s done take it off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before diving in.
THE INDOOR TWIST — Oven “grilled” plank salmon. Last week the weather was cold and rainy, but salmon was on the menu. Most of the time I don’t mind bundling up and fighting the elements to keep the grill hot, but this time I was more in the mood to come up with a cozy indoor alternative. The results were almost as good as the outdoor grill, and worth it to keep my coat hung up.
The two things you need for success are even heat around the fish, and trapped smoke. On the grill you spread the coals toward the outside of the kettle and keep the lid on for the entire cooking process. Well… the oven already provides even heat. Now, for the smoke; hmmmm…
HOW IT’S DONE — Place a single rack at it’s lowest position in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take a large roasting pan and close the vent on the lid. Pour a cup of water in the bottom, then place the soaked plank on the bottom. Lay the fish skin-side down on the plank, season with salt, pepper and Old Bay. Put the lid on and slide it into the hot oven. Check the fish after 25 minutes. Depending on the size of your filets they will take between 24-40 minutes to cook. You can make rice and the veges while it’s in the oven. Delicious! ~TH~