My local Whole Foods has a display of wooden boards for grilling fish set up in front of their seafood counter. You can choose a cedar, maple, or cherry board and then pair it with a compatible fish. The friendly merchant confessed that she was crazy about the cherry plank, but I chose cedar since it matches up admirably with salmon, the fish I am planning to use.
Whatever your selection, when fish is set atop a wooden plank, then placed on a grill (whether charcoal or gas), the wood imparts a lovely smokiness to the seafood. What, I thought, could be better to grill on this long holiday weekend than marinated salmon fillets on a cedar plank. For my recipe (a favorite I created several years ago) I use a simple, yet distinctive marinade of maple syrup, lime juice, soy sauce, and fresh ginger. The ingredients provide, respectively, sweet, tart, salty, and spicy notes that complement the scent of smoked wood.
While the fish is marinating, I’ll soak the cedar plank in water. Then after preparing the grill, I’ll heat the plank for a few minutes, place the salmon on it, and put down the lid. In about 15 minutes, the cedar will have imparted a smoky scent to the fish, which turns a light mahogany color. I plan to serve the fillets right on the plank, with a garnish of chopped cilantro and green onions sprinkled over each. Corn on the cob and a bracing slaw would make fine sides.
Happy Labor Day weekend to all of you!
Although parades, band concerts, and fireworks all define July 4th, it’s the food that many of us anticipate most. Whether special burgers, smoked ribs, barbecued chicken, corn on the cob slathered with seasoned butter, spicy baked beans, or fresh strawberry shortcakes, a big spread is the way everyone loves to celebrate America’s birthday. Typically, cooks focus on the entrees, sides, and sweets, but starters are important too. You don’t have to resort to a bowl of chips served with a purchased dip when you can make Grilled Shrimp with Cumin Mayo in only a matter of minutes.
What could be better than juicy well-cooked steaks to kick off this special holiday! Although this weekend doesn’t mark the official beginning of summer (on June 21st), it is a time when many cooks pull out grills and barbecue tools, moving their kitchens from indoors to the open air.
Lightly charred, juicy beef sirloins topped with creamy slices of Gorgonzola and a red onion rosemary relish is a recipe from my files that would be perfect to inaugurate the season.
Sometimes a dish is so unusual and so tantalizing, that I find myself thinking about it long after the last bite. That was my experience at Jean Georges’ Nougatine in New York recently. The minute I tasted the hake fillet (a mild white fish similar to cod) served sashimi style, drizzled with a rhubarb/balsamic dressing, I knew it was special.
Made with finely diced uncooked rhubarb, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a generous seasoning of freshly ground black pepper, the sauce was simple, but assertive and definitely the secret to the dish. At home, I tried my own version, adding a hint of soy sauce for a salty note. Instead of pairing this rhubarb sauce with raw fish, I opted for grilled pork tenderloin steaks rubbed with crushed rosemary, kosher salt, and pepper.