Along with Rémy, this cunning little grilling accessory called out to Rich while we were at Sur la Table last week – it’s a stainless steel tray designed to hold a thoroughly soaked plank of wood on the grill. Sur la Table, rather nicely, I thought, also offered an assortment of woods for soaking – we picked up one cedar and one alder.
Being new to the practice of cooking on a piece of wood over a flame, I consulted our grilling books for methods, recipes, suggestions, and warnings.
Our books were silent on the subject of attempting to cook on a piece of wood over a flame. Well (you know what’s coming) ALL PRAISE DA GOOGLE – which provided a veritable trove of recipes,methods, suggestions, and yes, a few warnings (always nice to know).
Here’s what we tried (with all due thanks to Steve Raichlen, who’s grilling books have never let us down before, but who came back for the save on da Google):
First, soak the wood (we used cedar this time) for at least one hour or (more better, I think) three, in water, apple juice, or wine – you may need to weigh the plank down to keep it from floating.
Next, the salmon:
•4 salmon filets – Target’s wild-caught Keta salmon is wonderful – fresh tasting, reasonably priced, and scores high in sustainability ratings
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1/2 cup Dijon mustard
•Salt and pepper
Remove the plank from the water (or apple juice or wine) and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. Season well with salt and pepper.
Spread the mustard over the top and sides of the salmon to cover. Crumble the brown sugar in a bowl and then drizzle it over the mustard-covered salmon.
Set your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium high.
Set your plank in its cunning little caddy (if you’ve been shopping at Sur la Table), pop it on the grill grate away from the heat source, close the grill and cook for twenty to thirty minutes.
If you don’t have a cunning little caddy, set your plank directly on the grate, again, away from the heat, and proceed – the caddy serves mostly to allow you more uses out of each plank, I think.
The salmon is done when internal temps get to 135º – or when it flakes nicely with a fork if you’re going old-school.
Nice – and the aroma while it’s grilling? YUM!
Next time, I’m definitely soaking the plank in apple juice, and in place of the Dijon and brown sugar will keep things simple and just use my barbecue sauce.