Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Ned Bell
Planking pays homage to the First Nations people who were cooking salmon on wood planks over an open fire long before Europeans arrived.
It’s an ingenious way to impart earthy, smoky, and even floral notes to the fish, depending on the type of wood you use.
Although cedar is a classic choice, alder and oak work beautifully with salmon too.
2 cedar planks
1 (850 g) skin-on salmon fillet, cut into 4portions
Extra-virgin olive oil
To taste sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only, plus extra for garnish (divided)
4 nectarines or apricots, halved
2 Tbs (30 mL) honey
Flaked sea salt
½ cup fresh whole-milk ricotta
Toasted almonds for garnish, sliced
- Soak cedar planks in water for at least 30 minutes and up to a day before using. Preheat the grill to medium (about 350° F).
- Use paper towels to pat the fish dry. Rub all over with olive oil, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the thyme leaves over the salmon, and press to adhere.
- Put planks on the grill directly over the flames. Cover the grill and allow the plank to heat until starting to just smoke, about 2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side.
- Place salmon skin-side down on one plank, and nectarines cut side up on the other. Drizzle the nectarines with honey, sprinkle with most of the remaining thyme leaves, and a little salt.
- Cover the grill and cook for 7 to 12 minutes or until fish is almost opaque all the way through and flakes easily, and the nectarines are caramelized and tender. If the planks get too hot and ignite, spritz them with water from a spray bottle.
- *Without planks, grill the salmon on an oiled grate for 3 to 4 minutes per side, and roast the nectarines in a baking dish in a 400° F oven for 12 minutes.
- To serve, add a couple tablespoons of ricotta over each piece of fish, and sprinkle with the almonds. Garnish with thyme. Serve with a garden salad.