A while back, I received an email from my grandmother telling me that she had just enjoyed the absolute best salmon she’d ever tasted. She asked if I could come up with a similar recipe. What was it, you ask? It was Cedar Plank Wild Salmon with an Apricot Jalapeño Glaze.
It sounded terrific and we almost always have wild salmon on hand, but I had never cooked anything on a cedar plank before. I figured it was an Alaskan rite of passage and that it was a skill I’d need to learn sooner than later. I picked up some cedar planks in the grill section of one of our local store and waited for the next time Pastor Alaska brought home a fresh-caught sockeye salmon. (Isn’t it a beautiful catch? Nice job, honey. So thankful for these local resources and the hands that bring them home).
Meanwhile, I did some research and discovered that Food Network’s Guy Fieri has a highly reviewed recipe for just such a cedar plank salmon dish on the menu at his restaurant Johnny Garlic’s. Since I was venturing into some uncharted territory, I was very happy to have found such a reliable resource.
The cedar plank package instructed me to soak the planks for 20-45 minutes before use, and although Guy’s recipe didn’t mention this step, I was pretty convinced it was assumed. So, I soaked my planks. The results were incredible – the salmon was so moist and juicy that it just fell apart. And the glaze is a lovely spicy-sweet pairing with the smokiness from the cedar. Definitely one to make for guests.
1c apricot preserves (I used a homemade apricot jam for this, which I recommend)
2 food service quality cedar planks, soaked for 20-45 minutes
parchment paper, cut to fit cedar planks
Add oil to a small saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add jalapenos and saute until caramelized. Add garlic, and before it begins to brown, deglaze with white wine. Next add mustard and apricot preserves and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you complete the other steps.
Preheat oven to 400.
Place parchment paper on planks, add salmon, lightly salt and pepper, place a rosemary sprig on each fillet, and liberally apply cooled apricot mixture.
Place cedar planks on gas burners. When planks begin to smoke, place onto a sheet pan (to catch drippings) and into the preheated oven.
Cook salmon until medium-rare to medium (or to your preference) - mine took about 10 minutes, but this will depend on the thickness of your salmon, size of fillets, and desired doneness. Remove from oven and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes until serving. Garnish with lemon zest and serve.
*These fillets are large and I portioned them out at the table; feel free to use 4 six-ounce fillets instead, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. I also removed the skin prior to serving; it comes off very easily after cooking. Or you can use salmon fillets with the skin removed prior to cooking.