It’s funny how things evolve in your life. I cringe a little when I think back to the days when I was single. When I was 25, I moved by myself from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. I quickly got an apartment and a job as a secretary in Century City. Food was not even on my radar. I would grab a sandwich on my lunch break, and then on my way back home to the valley, I would stop at McDonald’s for a hamburger and fries. I never cooked, and there was never any food in my refrigerator. And then I met Neil.
This guy loved food. Every meal was an adventure with him. He liked to go out to nice restaurants, he loved to entertain guests, and he could cook. I mean he could really, really cook. So, over the past twenty-five years, he’s taught me everything he knows about food, and that’s a lot. But where he really shines is behind the barbecue. It’s funny, but when we get invited to people’s houses for a barbecue they’ll ask Neil to do the cooking. He makes a killer grilled salmon with herb butter that he cooks on a cedar plank. By cooking on the plank the fish will retain its moisture and the plank imparts a delicious, smokey flavor. If you’ve never cooked on a cedar plank before then I insist you give it a try.
I have purchased my cedar planks from Williams Sonoma, and also from Home Depot. You can also check online, they are not hard to find.
Cedar Planked Salmon with Herb Butter
1 cedar plank
1 salmon filet (I always buy from Costco)
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
herb butter (recipe to follow)
1. Soak your plank, weighted down in the sink or a dish filled with water, fruit juice, or wine for 4 hours. This will keep the plank from burning. I soaked my plank in salted water. Before cooking, dry off plank and brush cooking side with oil to prevent fish from sticking.
2. Heat your grill to medium.
3 Wash, and pat dry salmon filet. I removed the skin.
4. Season fish with salt and pepper and dot the surface with the herb butter.
5. Place fish on the plank, and cook on grill with the lid closed for about 30 minutes until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon each of finely mined basil, thyme and parsley
In a small bowl mix all ingredients together until combined