Father’s Day: Cedar Planked Salmon

June 21, 2020

I had a great Father’s Day. Carla and I went out for a walk in the morning, I cleaned my messy office, and we had our youngest son and his family over for dinner. Unfortunately, our older son and his wife couldn’t make it as they had been out in public earlier in the week and wanted to self-quarantine a few more days. They were terribly sick for about 2 months but the COVID-19 tests were inconclusive.

I wanted to make something tasty but simple. Cedar planked salmon fit the bill. On Friday Carla picked up two beautiful filets from our local fish store. One was too big to fit on a 17-inch plank so I had to cut it down. I soaked two planks for a few hours. As the grill was warming up, I patted them down with a paper towel, drizzled some olive oil on top and sprinkled some kosher salt on top.

Salmon filets destined for the grill

Years ago, our South African daughter-in-law introduced us to chutney as a garnish for salmon – it’s a game changer. So, I bought two flavors, but I also stumbled upon this recipe for a lemon garlic sauce on thelemonbowl.com so thought I’d add something new. It’s very simple: lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley. While I grilled some corn on the cob I prepped the sauce ingredients.

Salmon filets and lemon garlic sauce ingredients.

Carla buttered the corn and wrapped them in foil for grilling. When they were done, I moved them to the grill warmer and put the salmon planks on.

Salmon filets on cedar planks, on the grill at 400°

I set the grill to 400°. The USDA says salmon is done at 145°. If you don’t trust your fish source that’s a good target. We have friends who want it off at about 120° – that’s a little cool for us. I shoot for 130° – 135°. Of course salmon filets are not rectangular cubes; when the thickest part is at 130°, the thinner parts are higher. This gives everyone a chance to get a piece they are comfortable with. I also use a Thermapen instant read thermometer to check temps before I pull the meat.

While the salmon cooked, I whisked together the sauce ingredients.

Lemon garlic sauce for the salmon.

Interestingly, the larger filet was done first – more on that later. By the time I got that off the grill, in the house and took a picture, the other pieces were done.

Salmon planked salmon – it’s what’s for dinner.

Carla made our favorite potato salad earlier, and we had a loaf of nice sour dough bread. It’s a perfect summer dinner. That sauce was amazingly good. I said I was going to put that sauce on everything! J. laughed and asked if I’d even put it on my cereal. Well, maybe not everything.

A beautiful summer dinner.

We all ate on the deck separated on two sides of the table. Far apart enough for safety; too far for our hearts. Our daughter-in-law made a cake for their youngest son’s birthday last week so we got to have a the last of it for dessert.

Rating: ★★★. A full 5 stars. What could be better on a beautiful summer evening, This is the best way I’ve found to cook salmon – I learned it from our friends years ago. And that sauce! Have I mentioned how good it is?

As I mentioned above the filet on the left was done first even though it was bigger. When I turned over the planks later I saw that it had gotten much hotter. The left side of my grill is hotter than the right. That knowledge will come in handy.

The plank on the left side of the grill got much hotter.

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