Where to Buy a Cedar Plank:
The cedar plank is not a new method of cooking and here in the Pacific Northwest the natives have been roasting their salmon like this for eons. Cedar planks are relatively inexpensive and readily available at hardware stores, lumber yards or anywhere outdoor grilling supplies are sold.
Preparing the Cedar Plank:
Cedar planks are dry and flammable wood so they need a good two-hour soaking to keep them from catching fire during the cooking process. After the soak the plank gets really hot in the oven and it begins to steam and releases that wonderful woodsy flavor of cedar that just permeates into the salmon.
Choices to Soak your Cedar Plank With:
- Apple Cider
- White Wine
Why Soak the Salmon in a Salt-Water Solution?
Our sockeye salmon fillets also get a little soaking. It is so disappointing to pull a gorgeous cut of salmon out of the oven and see white stuff in places. Yes, it is a natural process and it is called albumin but it can be eliminated or controlled. It is caused by protein in the flesh that is pushed out of the muscles during the cooking process. A short ten-minute soak in a salt-water brine is the secret to eliminating all or most it. That briny soak will also firm up the salmon and make it more moist and flavorful.
How Long Should a Salmon Fillet Cook?
Calculate four minutes for each one-half inch of thickness. Try to purchase fillets that are at least one inch in thickness. Remove from the oven when it is firm and barely opaque all the way through or if using an instant-read thermometer to a temperature of 140 degrees.
What are Hazelnuts?
Hazelnuts are the star in this flavorful vinaigrette. Hazelnuts are products of the Filbert tree and have a dark colored skin that some people like to remove after roasting. However, we like the flavor that the roasted skin imparts to the nuts and our vinaigrette.
Making the vinaigrette is an easy combination of:
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- minced shallots
- Dijon mustard
- olive oil
- chopped toasted hazelnuts
- fresh thyme leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
The ground toasted hazelnuts add a unique flavor-burst that you will love when spooned over the salmon fillets.
If you have not yet tried salmon roasted, baked or grilled on a cedar plank, you just do not know what you have been missing. It is really worth it!
You might also like:
- Ginger-Miso Glazed Salmon
- Mascarpone and Smoked Salmon Bruschetta
- Wild Alaskan King Salmon with Blueberry Sauce
This recipe for Cedar-Plank Sockeye Salmon with Hazelnut Vinaigrette is adapted from Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook
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- 1 Cedar grilling plank, soaked in cold water *(see notes)
- 4 tablespoons salt, 4 cups cold water
- 4 (6-ounce) fresh wild-caught sockeye salmon fillets with skin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon course ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1-1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 cup light olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Soak the cedar plank in water for at least 2 hours (see notes)
- While the cedar plank is soaking prepare the vinaigrette and save for later:
To make the vinaigrette:
- Into a food processor or blender, whirl the lemon juice, shallots, mustard and honey until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil, processing until well combined, then transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Whisk in the hazelnuts and thyme leaves. Salt and pepper to taste.
To cook the salmon:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F
- Place the cedar plank on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to preheat for 15 minutes.
Brine the Salmon Fillets:
- Dissolve the 4 tablespoons of salt with 4 cups of water
- Place the salmon fillets in a casserole dish, in one layer, skin side down and pour the salt water brine over them. Allow them to soak for 10-minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the fillets to a plate and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve until the cedar plank is ready.
Bake the Salmon:
- Remove the baking sheet/plank from the oven and arrange the salmon fillets on the preheated plank, skin side down and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness. *See Notes
- After the salmon has cooked for about 8 minutes, check for doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the salmon. Remove from the oven when it is firm and barely opaque all the way through (about 140°), transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with the vinaigrette, garnish with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.
- To keep the cedar plank fully immersed, elevate it slightly by setting it on a can, such as tuna fish and place another object heavy enough to keep the plank weighted so it doesn’t float. We placed a jar of marinara sauce on the plank.
- To determine how long to cook the salmon: Measuring at the thickest part, calculate 4 minutes for each one-half inch thickness. Try to purchase fillets of at least 1-inch thick.
- You can purchase cedar planks just about any place they sell BBQ grill equipment but you will pay about $8 for two planks of about 5”x12”. Or…. you can go to your local lumber yard and purchase untreated cedar siding board for about $10 and cut a bunch of them yourself.
- With proper care you should be able to reuse your plank several times before tossing it in the woodstove. Just scrub your plank with coarse salt, cold water and lemon juice. This will help to keep it smelling fresh. Do not use soap, as it will leave a trace of flavor.
- Nutrition values represent salmon only....the vinaigrette will make approximately one cup and provide for every 2 tablespoon serving: Cals, 153, fat, 17.28, sfat, 2.4
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Amount Per Serving Calories 350 Total Fat 40g Saturated Fat 5g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 32g Cholesterol 47mg Sodium 6837mg Carbohydrates 5g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 1g Sugar 3g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 21g