Monday, February 12, 2018

Recipe of the Week - Oven-Planked Salmon

The origins of plank cooking are in dispute.  Some claim the technique originated in the Pacific Northwest, others credit Scandinavians for bringing the method with them when they migrated to North America.  My personal, unfounded opinion is that this simple, ancient cooking technique was probably discovered and utilized by people all around the globe, at one time or another.

Many foods can be planked on many different types of wood.  All types of fish and meats can be plank cooked, on may different types of wood.  Even fruits and veggies can be planked.  Acceptable plank materials include red cedar, oak, apple, alder, hickory, sugar maple and mesquite.

The current planking practice in the United States has morphed into primarily cedar planked salmon, which is what we are talking about, today.  Some veggies are thrown in as a bonus.  Pre-planked and marinated salmon can be bought in many grocery stores.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it is a bit on the expensive side and kinda takes the fun out of it.

Traditional planking takes place over a grill or an open fire.  But, sometimes the weather isn't conducive to outdoor cooking, so we are going to bring it inside.

Serves 4.

Here is what you need:

Cedar plank or planks  (A discussion on planks, follows.)
1/2 sheet cake pan or similar vessel

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lb. salmon filet
salt and pepper
Italian salad dressing

1 med. zuchinni
1 med. summer squash
1 med. red pepper
1 med. sweet onion
olive oil

Soak the planks in water for at least two hours.  Rinse and dry the salmon filet, salt and pepper it and coat with Italian dressing, skin side down.  Place it in the fridge to marinate while the planks are soaking.

Cut up your vegetables as shown in the photos.  Salt and pepper them and lightly coat with olive oil.  Set aside.

After the planks have soaked long enough, pre-heat the oven to 360 degrees.  Any higher and you risk combustion.  (You may need to open a door or window or use the range hood, as it is.)  Place the salmon and veggies on a plank and put the veggies in the oven.  After 5 minutes, add the salmon and bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the salmon flakes apart, easily.

Serve and enjoy. 

Future recipes include cole slaw like you've never seen, "Shelf Preservation", the lightest, most airy pancakes you've ever tasted and "Roux'd Awakening".

The difference in thickness is apparent.
A primer on Planks.

Like most everything these days, cedar planks can be bought at the supermarket.  But, they are expensive and only 1/4" thick.  You can buy an 8' 1x6 or 1x8 and the local lumber yard and cut it into 12" to 16" pieces.  They will be 3 times thicker than the store bought planks and can be use multiple times.  If you don't have a saw, you must know someone who does.  Bribe them and invite them to dinner!
Planks can be scrubbed with plain water,rinsed, dried and re-used.

The shorter plank is charred from use on a grill.

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