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food odyssey

Smoked Salmon on a Cedar PlankApr 20, 2010

Smoked Salmon on a Cedar Plank

The Classics
I love good food and had been fortunate enough to have indulged in some really good food. There are many tried-and-true classics out there that survived the test of discriminating generations. It doesn't have to be haute cuisine. In fact many classics are borne from humble beginnings in a modest kitchen from a fishing village or a farm.

A Class All Its Own
Smoked salmon, being a traditional Eskimo (or Inuit) staple falls within this totem pole rankiing. But there is nothing modest about the taste of smoked salmon on a cedar plank. No, it's not your average salmon dish. It's a universe unto its own that catapults the common salmon high into the stratosphere. I'm not kidding. My first one in Toronto blew me away. In the realm of blow-your-doors-off food, this one takes the cake.

Sourcing the Ingredients
In Canada where salmon and a dome grill are relatively affordable and cedar planks could be had for 99 cents, it wasn't too challenging to prepare one. And speaking of dome grills, nothing beats the Weber Grill...nothing!

It's a bit challenging though in the Philippines. Salmon can be had for about P480/K (it's not cheap!) and yes, a Weber Grill can be purchased at True Value Hardware (P~4200) but I haven't seen lemon powder or a cedar plank. I've seen a hichory plank, but that's not the same. Perhaps a substitute would be the same wood locally used to make tinapa...dunno.

The Secret
Now that I'm in the Philippines, I thought smoke salmon would be a distant memory. But a few good things happened. You know this movie, The Secret? That if you want something bad enough, you're actually allowing the universe to conspire to make it happen? Well, the universe did conspire. My Mom shipped me a few cedar planks from Toronto and Char got herself a Weber dome grill. How cool is that?

Well, if you happen to get all the ingredients, here's how I do it.

Ingredients: (serving for 4)
  • 1 kilo salmon
  • lemon powder (very hard to get in Manila...maybe Sãntis)
  • olive oil (for the salmon...not necessarily extra virgin...since you're cooking with it)
  • regular cooking oil (for the plank)
  • cedar plank (in the Philippines, good luck!)
  • Weber grill
  • soak the cedar plank in water for a day
  • strain plank and rub with oil (to keep the liquid from evaporating)
  • rub oil and lemon powder on salmon
  • fire up the grill
  • when heat is adequate, put the plank on the grill (not on the charcoal)
  • when it starts smoking, put the salmon on the cedar plank, skin-side down
  • cover the grill with the dome and check for doneness after 30 minutes
  • DO NOT overcook. Salmon has to remain juicy
  • Bon Appetite!

The Good Life
Smoked salmon is an occasion. We would steal lazy Sunday afternoons doing an alfresco picnic (usually at the UP Campus ground), with smoked salmon on the main serving plate...with chilled dry white wine, Louie Armstrong music, salad (bruschetta is best!) or roasted veggies, good conversation, or if with others, good company.

--- TheLoneRider

  • smoked salmon goes very well with dry white wine and bruschetta
  • if you're smoking just salmon belly strips, check for doneness after 15 minutes
  • you can still reuse the same plank if there's some left, but the aroma will not be as good as a first time use
  • enjoy the salmon while it's hot (when it gets cold, the moment is's just plain salmon)
  • oily fish is the best fish for smoking. Locally, the Piñahon and Mackerel are ideal
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Reader Comments:

(April 21, 2010) yummy! can practically smell it..

(Apr 20, 2010) I can still smell and taste the yummy salmon. You're going to WOW Dumaguetanians with your salmon. It's going to be a hit...ampunin ka na nila dyan for good!

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