Cedar Planked Salmon
Couple of quick questions- made this before and don't know why I'm suddenly doubting myself.
Getting ready to plan some beautiful king salmon tonight (we try to eat somewhat healthy on sunday nights). When I look back at a bunch of recipes they say to remove the skin- i never have as it just falls away from the fish when its done- am I doing something totally wrong?
Also, I'm just planning to throw a bunch of herbs between the skin and the fish (perhaps even some on the fish) and lay lemon slices beneath and above it- should I really be more aggressive with my treatment of the fish (like a mustard or brown sugar rub?)
1) You're not doing anything wrong. Sometimes a fillet of salmon can look a little nicer if you skin before cooking than if you just peel away the skin afterward, but it's really no big deal.
2) You can season however you'd like. But especially if you have a very nice piece of fish, I'd say go with the simpler flavoring. Let the fish shine. Lemons and fresh herbs sounds very nice.
I now use these awesome 'cedar leaves' that are sold in grocery stores here in the NW, thin shavings the size of planks that are good for 1, maybe 2 grillings or roastings, come in a pack of six. Soak for 1/2 an hour, then top with fish, and grill/roast.
I would NEVER take the skin off of my great fillet before cedar grilling; the idea is that the flavor of the cedar, and smoke of the grill/char from a bbq come up partially THROUGH the fat of the skin to flavor the fillet.
Simple lemon slices maybe + feathers of fresh dill,OR an herb butter (thyme/shallot/lemon is my favorite) at the end is enough. So much going on here with the fatty salmon, cedar, grilling, that excess flavorings just cover the delish fish. Less is often more. :)
We like to put the fish skin back on the grill after taking the filet off the cedar plank after resting it off the heat, and put the skin, which is now bare, back on a hot grill for a few minutes to sizzle with a drizzle of lemon and serve the sliced crispy skin as a side- sometimes mixed into a seaweed salad, sometimes on it's own, and sometimes with crispy kale and garlic. That fat and skin is there for a reason...
gingershelley, I've seen the cedar "paper" here and want to try it. I also suppose I could get out my hacksaw and cut the cedar planks I have into individual portions.
You are soooooo right about the skin and fat!!! Tonight I'm letting the skin cool as a special treat for my cat. I grilled my salmon fillet with just a little lemon pepper, then placed it on some wild rice and topped with a quick sauce of non-fat greek yogurt, minced garlic, fresh dill and s&p. Simple, lowfat and loaded with flavor!
Thanks so much for all the help- glad to know I'm not missing something huge.
I tend to really like putting the herbs between the fish and the plank only because the flavor that comes through is so subtle, but clearly there.
We had to push dinner to tonight, but it's going to be another gorgeous night for grilling in San Diego!
I get more cedar/alder flavor coming through when i remove the skin, same way removing mesothelial papery lining from ribs helps smoke penetrate bbq.
Make cracklins out of skin
I have brined salmon in a salt, maple syrup, and dill solution prior to cedar planking. It is sort of gilding the lily but it is delicious.
Nothing better than cedar planked salmon! I don't remove the skin. I soak my cedar plank for a few hours, get the bbq ready, then put the salmon skin-down on the cedar plank. I season the top of the salmon fillet with salt, pepper, a little olive oil, then lay down some fresh thyme, and cover the top with thinly sliced lemons. Pop it in the bbq, cook away at 451F plus (to get the plank to char). One of my favorite meals!
Rather than using expensive Cedar Planks, I use cheap cedar shingles like these:
Make sure the shingles are UNtreated before you buy them.
Wash but don't soak the shingles -- you *want* them to ignite. Get your grill as hot as you possibly can. Place the fish on the shingle, season to your liking, and place on the grill. If the grill is hot enough the shingle should ignite almost immediately and take about ten minutes to burn away completely, except for the part directly under the fish, which won't burn. The skin will stick to the shingle when you remove the fish. Just leave the remains on the grill when you're done, and voila, no cleanup.
If you cover the grill the flames will go out, but if you can prop the lid open just a bit, the shingle will still burn but the smoke will stay inside the grill longer and you'll get a more pronounced cedar smoke flavor.
This also works really well for steaks and chicken, although chicken obviously takes longer.