Coming from Scandinavia I have been used to only one kind of salmon. Beautiful salmon, and it was simple to shop because you never had to choose between different kinds.
But here on the West Coast there is always the dilemma – a hard choice every time, between 5 different species of salmon: Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum (as well as the wonderful Steelhead salmon/trout) – all wonderful in different ways.
For this recipe I chose wild Sockeye – deep orange and with a beautiful taste, perfect for cooking on the cedar plank. Preparing salmon in this way is new to me as I have never seen it done this way before. But after trying it once, it has become a favourite. The taste, when it has been BBQed on the cedar plank, is just incredible – beyond comparison, and difficult to even describe in words.
Cedar planked salmon with tarragon and dill
one side of salmon
one bunch of fresh tarragon
one bunch of fresh dill
1/2 cup of olive oil
freshly squeezed lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Soak the cedar plank for several hours in water before use – I soak it all day to get it ready. Here on the West Coast where Cedar grows all over, it is easy to buy the planks – all ready for the salmon. They are split very thin (8mm – 5/16″) and if buying elsewhere make sure you get a natural plank that has not been treated with anything! A plank can be re-used several times.
Place the salmon on the plank and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Put it on the hot grill. Cook it half-way through before adding the marinade.
Finely chop the fresh tarragon, dill and shallot onion, put it in a bowl and add the olive oil, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Now pour the marinade on top of the salmon and continue cooking til the salmon is just done – make sure not to overcook it! (Check this by gently pressing a finger on the thickest part of the salmon – it has to feel firm.) Depending on the thickness, it will be ready in about 15 -20 min .
I served the salmon with two favorite salads and just that – simple and delicious! A Panzanella salad, a gorgeous salad with baked summer-ripe tomatoes and a green salad with celery leaves and pine nuts.
A fantastic flavorful salad and a perfect match to go with the fish.
6 sun ripe tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
big bunch of Italian parsley
a good drizzle of olive oil
a sprinkle of good balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 slices of good but stale bread
Half the tomatoes and put them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake them slowly for about an hour in a 350F oven, checking that they do not burn. Take them out and leave them to cool.
Half the cucumber and scrape out the middle, slice it and put it in a salad bowl. Add the cool tomatoes, wash and chop the parsley and add it to the bowl. Finely chop the red onion add it to the salad – drizzle with the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
Put a few drops of garlic oil on the bread and grill them slightly on the BBQ or in the oven. Tear the bread into smaller pieces and toss it in the salad – mix well so the bread soaks up the flavors and the juices of the salad. Serve it with the fish.
Green salad with celery and pine nuts
Use different kinds of lettuce – a great mixture of your favorites.
A few stick of celery – preferably the middle of the celery with its leaves
2 spoons of pine nuts
This dressing is a classic that has been in my family forever – we use it, let me just say, a lot
The trick is to use the best ingredients – the better the ingredients the better the dressing.
2 spoons of good balsamic vinegar
a teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard
a pinch of sea salt
one clove of freshly squeezed garlic
Mix this – then add a little olive oil while you constantly stir, add more olive oil while stirring – continue doing this till you have a thick, dark yummy dressing. You can add a little maple syrup for a sweetness if you like. This salad dressing is so good and so easy to make.
Wash and prepare the lettuce add them In a bowl. Chop the celery stick and leaves, add them to the salad, add the dressing and mix well – sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve with the fish.