This was my first foray into using a plank of wood with grilling. I have been curious about it for awhile and when I found a package of four planks for less than ten dollars, I decided it was time to satisfy my curiosity. There was also a recipe in the April issue of Eating Well magazine which was still floating around in the mess that is my brain, so it all sounded like a go.
Do you read the whole recipe before you make something? I think that it is recommended, and this recipe was a prime example of why you should. I started making the marinade and the second ingredient was sake. Ooops, didn’t have any sake. I thought that we always had some in our liquor stash, but apparently not. So, being the quick and resourceful thinker that I am, I substituted mirin. Feeling rather proud of myself, I go on to the next ingredient, which is, you guessed it, mirin. Mmmmm..what to do…what to do. Being the queen of substitutions, I substituted vermouth for the mirin. Why? I don’t know, other than I found some when I was searching for the sake.
The salmon was great. It didn’t look as pretty as the picture in the mag (which you can see here, but it was still pretty if you looked at it from just the right angle. Why? Because salmon is a fatty fish and as it cooked it leaked out that unappetizing grayish fatty stuff from the sides, which drops through the grates when you are grilling, but just puddles up on the plank. So, if you are going to serve this to guests, I would suggest either replating (though the plank is a fancy touch), or scraping off the congealed fatty puddles.
I served this with jasmine rice from the rice cooker, which I cooked with 3 slices of lemon to mimic the lemon in the salmon (just kidding, it was because I had three slices left over from the lemon used for the salmon). I also used a little knob of ginger (ditto on the being leftover from the salmon). The vegetable was steamed edamame. This was a lovely, healthy dinner, with lots of flavor!
Plank-Grilled Sweet Soy Salmon
(From Eating Well April 2008, link above)
Makes 4 servings
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped scallions
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
4 5-ounce wild salmon fillets or steaks, ¾-1 inch thick, skin on
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
1. Soak a grilling plank in water for 2 to 4 hours.
2. Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, sake (or white wine), mirin, sugar, scallions and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. Place salmon in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Place lemon slices on top. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours, turning the fish once or twice.
4. Preheat grill to medium-high.
5. Place the soaked plank over direct heat on the grill and heat for 2 minutes. Move the plank so it’s over indirect heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade, place it skin-side down (if using fillets) on the hot plank and replace the lemon slices on top. Close the lid and cook until the fish is just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Use the plank as the serving platter, if desired.