September 10, 2010

Tree + Fish

I don't know if you could tell, but, we don't eat a lot of meat around here.  I mean meat meat.  The red kind, or the pork kind, or the game kind.  Really.  I'm sitting here, trying to remember the last time I prepared some and the only instance that is coming to mind is a couple of hamburgers I made way back in July.  And let me tell you that was only because I had some random craving that caused me to obsessively think about hamburgers for a week straight.  What we do eat, and still infrequently at that, is mostly chicken and fish.

This seems to confuse people, the lack of meat we consume around here.  Are we vegetarians?  What's the problem?   Don't you ever just want a steak for dinner?  No, no problem, and rarely.  It just is what it is, we don't eat a lot of meat.

I've tried making cedar planked salmon before, but was slightly underwhelmed by the results, though I think I missed the point last time, slathering the fish in a brown sugar/mustard/dill paste.  It didn't allow for the smoky flavor of the charred cedar to come through.  Lesson learned, I went the simple route this time and the salmon definitely picked up a nice smoky sweet flavor.  The sauce was just icing on the cake.  Light, tangy and herbaceous, it was a nice contrast to the richness of the salmon.

The next night, having two leftover fillets and not wanting to reheat and dry them out, I simply placed them on a lightly dressed salad with the leftover potatoes, slices of tomatoes, some avocado and the last of the sauce.  Both were excellent.

Cedar Plank Salmon with Yogurt Herb Sauce

I highly suggest the longer soaking time for the cedar plank.  I soaked mine for only an hour because of time constraints and man, that thing was smoky on the grill.  I'm talking like it looked like it might be on fire in there.  You might get away with only an hour of soaking if you cook over indirect heat with a charcoal grill, but I don't have any experience with that.  Proceed with caution.

4 servings

1 untreated cedar plank
1 pound skin on sockeye salmon, cut into 4 - 4oz fillets
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
small handful of mixed herbs, minced (I used tarragon, basil, chives and parsley)
1/2 lemon, juiced

Soak the cedar plank in water, keeping it submerged with some cans in a Tupperware/glass pan full of water, for at least 1 hour, though 2 would be better.

Mix the yogurt, garlic, herbs and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until the salmon is done.

Heat a grill (we have a gas grill) on high heat for 10 minutes and then reduce it to a medium heat.  Remove the plank from the water and let the excess water drip off.  Place the 4 fillets, skin side down and not touching, on the plank and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill, with the top closed, for about 10 minutes (my fillets were barely more than an inch thick and might have even been a little over cooked).  When finished cooking the salmon will feel firm and will no longer be oozing any milky substance.  Remove entire plank from heat and onto a platter, use a spatula to transfer the fillets to your plate.  Spoon a tablespoon of sauce over each serving.

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