By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher
This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine Summer 2011
Cooking fish on a hardwood or cedar plank is healthy, almost foolproof, absolutely delicious and impressive when served. The plank creates a gentle cooking environment, while adding a bit of smokiness that is perfect for pretty much any fish. Planks can usually be purchased for $2-4 and will last you several uses; cedar wood is to most common, maple wood is my favourite.
Follow these directions and you can’t go wrong; I’ve used a simple honey-dijon salmon recipe as an example. Although salmon is by far the most common fish cooked on a plank, the method works brilliantly with almost any type of fish filet or even whole fish – I’ve yet to discover a type of fish that doesn’t come out great cooked in this way.
- Prepare the plank by soaking in water overnight. I find the easiest way to do this is to put them in a roasting pan with water, and place a bottle of wine on top to weigh it down. A great cheat is to do this whenever you have time, and freeze them in a plastic bag – enabling you to pull out the plank at any time, run it under a little water to thaw it out, and you’re good to go.
- Preheat the BBQ on high, then reduce to medium heat and place the plank on the grill for about five minutes until the plank starts to smoke slightly. It is wise to have a water spray bottle handy in case your plank catches fire you can douse it quickly. The next time around reduce the heat on your grill a bit, to avoid the fire.
- Mix together some honey, Dijon mustard, and whatever herbs you have in your fridge – chives, dill and parsley, or cilantro are perfect. Salt & Pepper the salmon, and generously brush the honey mustard mixture on the salmon (the inside, not the skin side).
- Brush the plank with olive oil, and place your fish skin side down on the plank.
- Close the lid and cook until flakey, about 15 minutes at a medium heat.
Serve by bringing the whole plank to the table and enjoy. Add some wedges of lemon for diners to squeeze as desired.