Saturday 16 March 2013

Cedar Plank Salmon with Blood Orange Salsa

I have a confession to make, although I now own a nice hand mixer, good knives and all sorts of fancy cooking toys, I don't own a bbq. Yes, you read that right, what can I say, according to gender stereotypes I must simply not be a man *snif snif*. I must say though that even if I don't have a bbq and do not conform to the beer swigging, ugly apron wearing, manic steak grilling football fan that the media wishes I was, I do LOVE barbecued and smoked food.

It was night time, it was busy, it was frantic and I had no photo lights please don't judge the dish by these atrocious pictures, it deserves better!

        If you've been following the blog for awhile you'll know that in summer months I do tend to make due, as seen with my macgyver-esque bbq crafted from random bits of rock and brick in the back of my parents yard last year. However, I absolutely relish the opportunity to cook on the real deal. Be it charcoal or gas with all those swanky dials (all two of them! My brick pile has no swanky dials) there's something amazing about the easy outdoorsy-ness of barbecuing. All this to say that a week or so ago I had the chance to cook using a bbq. Not only was this exciting because I don't often do it , it was also in winter and for a party!

       It was also for a lovely event, a surprise birthday for Shannon's mum Kate in which I was cooking for about 20 people. After a brief caucus in which we tried to work out an easy but exotic meal for a bunch of people, we came to the conclusion that cedar plank salmon would be fantastic and wouldn't leech any much required kitchen space away from the rest of the operation. Bursting with exotic flavors and coated in colourful blood orange salsa this recipe, if I may say so myself, this dish is absolutely irresistible to salmon lovers with a flair for the exotic. Shannon's dad Alex, who normally works the bbq (a man who although he owns a bbq and drinks beer still does not fit the much loved media stereotype, sorry) decided to give me carte blanche on this one. So remembering previous cedar plank salmons we'd made together and thinking of summer we cooked two huge filets of salmon with a thick ginger garlic glaze and topped it with an almost unbelievably fresh tasting salsa. So if you're having some people over, dreaming of summer or you just miss using your dear bbq, this one is for you. Don't worry, it's absolutely worth cleaning your bbq and standing out in the cold for, I promise. By the way, did I mention that it's healthy and delicious? Now why are you still reading this and not running out to get the ingredients yet???

On a side note, I've seen different takes on this glaze, this one is a version done from memory replicating something Alex once found online, possibly on epicurious?

Prep time: 1h (30 min. active, planks need to soak in cold water for at least half an hour)
Cook time: ~10 min.

I reduced the portion to family feeding size so serves about 5 as a main dish

For the fish and glaze (measurements are approximate, do it to taste):
-1 large filet of salmon, ours was perhaps one pound or so
-1 1/2 inch ginger, grated on a microplane
-2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
-2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
-1-2 tsp. tamari soy sauce
-zest of one orange (optional)

Specialized equipment: untreated cedar planks large enough to fit your fish (you can cut it or use two planks if you wish), propane bbq

For salsa:
-3 Blood oranges (normal oranges work fine they just don't have that slight grapefruit-like aroma or brilliant colour!)
-1 Red onion
- 1 1/2 Sweet peppers (I bought a pack of tricolor peppers and used half of each to give it a particularly brilliant presentation)
-1 inch fresh ginger grated on a microplane
-2tbsp. Tamari soy sauce
-Juice of half a lemon
-1 Small handful of fresh cilantro

1) Soak cedar planks for at least half an hour up to 12 hours for best results
2) Chop oranges, red onion and peppers into small bite-sized pieces, as similarly sized as possible
3) Add soy sauce, lemon juice and chopped cilantro to  orange mix, let sit.
4) Mix ingredients for glaze and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or so to reduce it, the thicker it is, the better it sticks to the salmon!
5) After 20 minutes or so, try the salsa and adjust it to taste, a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup might be needed if your oranges are particularly acidic.
6) Light the bbq and heat it to high, add planks
7) Lay fish on top of planks, close bbq and heat for about 10 min. Cut into it and check for rawness after this, if there is only a bit in the center, a thin pink line, that's perfect, remove the salmon from the bbq, it will continue cooking after you've taken it out. Make sure not to overcook it and enjoy topped generously with salsa!

Yummy yummy salsa


  1. I swear - as soon as I have a spare moment, I am trying this out. It looks fantastic!

  2. I promise it'll look better! Can't wait to hear what you think :)