The question comes about almost every Friday, well almost every day in my house, “What should we have for dinner tonight?”.Â I will admit as much as I love being up for a challenge every night, waiting for my wife to come up with something out of the ordinary, a challenge if you will, that it some times is challenging in the sense that I am just too darned tired to whip up a nice sit down dinner that the entire family can enjoy. We used to be better planners. We would map out the week, including leftovers for lunches, and this helped, but at the same time got a little boring for me as I knew what we were having that day. I was not surprised. I guess, after all, I like surprises.
But Friday’s, the question is always there. What should we have for dinner? We often debate whether or not to go out for a fish fry. The fish fry in Milwaukee, is a big deal, but I have been honest since I have started this site, in saying that I have not been impressed with many of the Milwaukee fish fry’s, so I have been making my own. Fish is a big deal on Friday in Milwaukee, especially during Lent, but instead of making my own fish fry as I typically do, and as all of the kids love it, I decided to come up with something different, and something we do not typically eat on Friday. Salmon, cooked on a cedar plank.
Our local supermarket has a pretty good selection of seafood, however one of my favorite seafood providers in the Milwaukee area is Empire Fish. Not having the time to drive to Empire Fish, I quickly decided use my local market and pick up a nice fillet of salmon, free of bones. I have also been wanting to use some cedar planks I bought off of Woot about six months ago, that I thought this would just be a perfect dish on a Friday night.
Let’s get started.
- 2 lbs of salmon, skin on, bones removed
- 2 cedar planks, or a large enough cedar plank for the length of the salmon
- water for the planks
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 3 tbsp of dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- New potatoes, cooked, and tossed with light olive oil, salt and pepper and dill (optional)
- Simple salad (optional)
Begin by submerging your cedar planks for about 2 hours in water. You should have enough water to completely cover the planks.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to cook the fish, light your grill and get it nice and hot.
Prepare your fish by generously seasoning the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. To the flesh side of the fish, rub in the dijon mustard. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the mustard, and then drizzle the honey over the flesh.
If you are using charcoals, push the heated coals to one side, and if you are using gas, lower one side of the grill’s burner. The goal is to cook on indirect heat for this recipe.
Add the salmon fillet to the plank(s). Place the planks onto the grill, cover, and let sit and cook for about 10 minutes. Check the planks and make sure they are not on fire. If this is your first time cooking with planks, just keep an eye on them. If they begin to light up, mist with some water, but do not be scared if the planks begin to get nice and dark. That is the goal. You want to infuse the cedar smoke into the salmon. Continue cooking the salmon fillet for another five minutes or so. Your total cook time is around 15 minutes, or if you have a meat thermometer, poke it and reach around 135-140 degrees in the thickest part of the salmon.
When you are ready to serve, lay something onto the bottom of your table and place the whole cedar plank and fish on top. This gives a really nice presentation. Cut into servings, and serve with some nice cooked potatoes, and a light salad.
A perfect surprise for my wife and a nice twist on our standard Friday night. Enjoy.
- Purchase Cedar Planks (Amazon)
- Guide to Planking (Serious Eats)