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Cedar-Plank Roasted Salmon

Donald Barickman, who developed this recipe, cooks the salmon over a homemade barbecue pit, but you can use a large gas or charcoal grill. The longer the salmon cooks, the more pronounced the wood-roasted flavor, so you want to avoid cooking it too close to the heat.

  • Servings: 10

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2002

Ingredients

  • 1 cedar plank, untreated (at least 8 by 5 inches and 1 inch thick)
  • 2 fire-resistant supports, such as cinder blocks, for cedar plank
  • 1/3 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 three-pound whole side of salmon, skin on, boned and trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 small nails or screws, for cedar plank
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • Picture wire (at least 15 feet)

Directions

  1. Build a hot fire. Prepare cedar plank by toasting it over hot coals until it begins to blacken slightly on one side; remove from heat, and let cool completely.

  2. Place board, toasted side up, with both ends resting on supports. Sprinkle with one-third salt and a few sprigs each thyme and rosemary. Place salmon on plank, skin side down. About 2 inches from each end, tap one nail horizontally into side of plank, leaving head protruding for the wire. Season salmon with remaining salt and pepper, and arrange remaining herbs across the top.

  3. Starting at the larger end of fish, twist wire around the nail several times to secure. Wrap wire entirely around salmon and plank at 2-inch intervals, making sure that it is tight enough to hold fish in place without slicing through the tender flesh. When you reach the other end of the plank, twist the wire several times around other nail, and trim any excess wire with wire cutters.

  4. Arrange plank supports near the fire, and rest the plank, fish side down, on top, 15 to 20 inches above the coals. Cook until thicker part of fish is firm to the touch, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the heat of the fire, the distance from the heat during cooking, and the thickness of the fish. Roll the plank several times during cooking to check for doneness, and spritz fish and plank with water if they begin to smolder.

  5. Remove plank from heat, and let cool slightly. Remove wire and herbs, and discard. Cut fish on the diagonal, or flake the flesh with a fork into large pieces, and serve it directly from the plank.

Cook's Notes

Stack fire-resistant supports, such as bricks, stones, or cinder blocks, on each side of the grill so that the cedar plank will rest at least fifteen inches above the hot coals. If at any time the fish or plank begins to smolder, spritz it with water.

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