Cedar Plank Salmon with Charred Creole Sauce
Want to try your hand at cedar plank salmon? Chef Kenneth Temple, the New Orleans master of "It's much easier than you think," proves this recipe a prime example of simple setup but impactful presentation. With a Creole spin on a fine-dining favorite, our local Lagniappe friend shows how 15 minutes at the grill can turn famously difficult fish into a delicious dish. For bonus points, it calls for effortless prep work. What's not to love? Pick up some cedar planks at your local seafood aisle or hardware store, then try it yourself!
SERVES 8 people PREP 2 hrs 10 mins COOK 15 mins READY IN 2 hrs 25 mins
- For the Cedar Plank Salmon:
- 8 6-oz salmon filets (skin on)
- 4 Tbsp avocado oil
- 3 Tbsp cajun seasoning
- 4 Tbsp chives (chopped fine)
- For the Charred Creole Sauce:
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil
- 2 tomatoes, medium
- ½ onion, medium
- ½ bell pepper
- 2 celery stalks (chopped in thirds)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp thyme, dried
- Items You’ll Need:
- 2–4 large cedar planks, soaked
- Cutting board
- Fish spatula
- Welcome to the easiest prep work you’ve ever had to do: submerge and soak your wood planks for 2 hours. Not only does this prevent your planks from catching fire early on, but your filets will depend on that moisture over the open flames. Skip this step, and your best case scenario becomes burnt salmon. More than likely, you’ll have to replace the planks and salmon, then start over from square one.
- Are the planks are finished soaking? If so, preheat your grill to 400°F.
- While it heats up, start on your charred creole sauce by tossing together tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, celery, and avocado oil in a large bowl. Once the grill’s ready, move these ingredients to the fire and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the tomatoes are reasonably charred (if you blacken them, they’re burnt). Transfer them to a cutting board.
- Chop the charred vegetables, then add them together with garlic, salt, cayenne, and thyme to a food blender. Pulse on low for 20–45 seconds; the longer you blend, the smoother your sauce. Going Cajun-style? You’ll want chunky. Prefer Creole? Smooth.
- Rub down the skin of each salmon filet with ½ tablespoon avocado oil. Season each filet liberally with 1 ½ teaspoons cajun seasoning. Load up your soaked cedar planks with 2 salmon filets apiece; move the planks to the grill, close the lid, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Pop open your grill hood and spoon 2–3 tablespoons charred creole tomato sauce apiece over the salmon filets. Close and cook for 3 more minutes; once the filets flake easily, they’re good to go. Serve each salmon filet with a generous scoop of charred creole sauce — fresh off the grill — and garnish with chopped chives.