Planked Salmon on the grill is one of the easiest and most flavourful ways to cook it. I like to plank salmon on alder; I love the crisp woodsy, smoky flavour that it gives to the planked salmon, which is wild sockeye from right here in beautiful BC. Whatever salmon is fresh and available to you will work in this recipe, and you can plank on cedar, too, or any other wood.
The planking experience has several important steps. Your planks can be cedar, alder, maple, or any wood that can withstand some high heat. (I have used apple wood, and you can use any orchard wood, it will add it's own flavour to your dish) Make sure your cooking planks are untreated natural wood.
Your planks need to be soaked. Completely submerge them in water for at least 2 hours before cooking, but 6-8 hours works best to make sure they are thoroughly saturated. Add a ton of salt to the soaking water (think sea, where the salmon came from) and some herbs from the garden (rosemary, thyme, etc, depending on what you are cooking, you can also add wine, vinegar, beer, or whatever subtle flavour you want to infuse your fish with). You can soak your planks in the kitchen sink, using a heavy object, such as a cutting board or a large pot filled with water, set on top of them to keep them submerged.
Turn your grill on to high, and let it heat while you prep your salmon. Have a spray bottle filled with water on hand for any flare ups.
Pat the salmon fillet dry with paper towels and place the fish, skin side down, on the soaked plank. Rub the fillet all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning or whatever other seasonings you like. (Montreal Grill Salmon is also a good one) Fresh chopped dill is really nice for this recipe.
Turn the grill heat down to medium. Put the plank with the fish on the grill and close the lid. Let the wood plank first steam, then smoke and and finally infuse the fish with its wonderful smokey flavour. Depending on your grill, and the thickness of your salmon fillet, it should take around 20 minutes. When done, the salmon should flake easily but still be juicy.
Lemon Dill Aioli
- 3/4 cup real mayonnaise
- zest of one lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon (the other half lemon should be cut into wedges and served with the fish)
- 2 TBS fresh drill, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
Whisk all ingredients together and serve with Alder Planked Salmon.