The past few weeks have been busy. I’m in the middle of a few different projects, resulting in some long days and evenings stuck at my computer. Weeknight meals have therefore become simplified: quick, throw together pastas; fast clean-out-the-fridge tacos; and anything and everything on the grill, which, come springtime, becomes our savior for easy meals that require minimal clean-up.
Cedar-plank salmon is one of those too-easy-to-believe recipes that results in a meal that feels much more luxurious than a harried Tuesday deserves. A quick brush of Dijon mustard (sweetened with maple syrup, if I’m in the mood), a sprinkle of fresh herbs (almost anything will do) and some salt and pepper is all that’s needed to transform a piece of wild salmon into a starring centerpiece. The fish gets grilled right on the plank, which gives it a unique and wonderful smoky, herbal flavor. After about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your fish, dinner is served. The only trick is that the cedar plank needs to soak for at least two hours before grilling, so if you’re going to be home late, plop it in some water before heading to work.
Grilled asparagus, boiled potatoes, leftover grains and sautéed greens are all good accompaniments to the salmon. Last week it was zucchini “noodles” (tossed with hazelnut oil, lemon juice, basil and chopped hazelnuts), and quickly sautéed spinach, because, well, that’s what was hiding in the vegetable drawer. We ate outside by our newly planted garden, and work felt as far away as winter.
- Skin-on wild salmon , either 1 large fillet, or individual fillets
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dijon or whole grain mustard
- Maple syrup (optional)
- Chopped herbs , such as rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon and/or chives
- Soak a cedar plank in water for at least 2 hours, or longer (I place a bowl on top to keep the board submerged).
- Preheat a grill to medium-high.
- Remove the plank from the water and pat dry. Arrange the salmon on top (skin side down). Season with salt and pepper. Brush the salmon with mustard or a mix of equal parts mustard and maple syrup. Sprinkle with fresh herbs (any herbs or combinations you can rustle up will do).
- Grill the salmon, covered, until it flakes with a fork and is browned around the edges but still pink in the middle. Serve warm or at room temperature (while I love salmon skin, I don’t serve it in this case, as it’s rubbery). Mmm, mmm, slowly forget about your day…