After all these years working on Mariner’s Menu, we just recently tried plank cooking–and it’s wonderful!
Cooking on a plank dates back at least to the native Indians of the Pacific Northwest. They grilled salmon on planks over open fires. And salmon is still the fish most often planked. But others are delicious, too—we were successful with wahoo and mackerel.
The fish is flavored by both the grill and the plank. Different aromatic woods provide different flavors. Cedar is the most commonly used. Other favorites are alder, oak, maple, apple, cherry and hickory. Just be sure the wood is free from chemical treatments.
The plank must be soaked in water for a couple of hours or longer to prevent it from catching fire and to release more fragrance and flavor. Keep a spray water bottle handy in case of a flare-up. Since the fish is not in direct contact with the heat, cooking time is longer.
When the grill is heated, place the plank on it for two minutes, then turn it. Place the fish on the heated side of the plank and close the grill.
Planked fish can be simply prepared by brushing with olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Or they can be rubbed with a spice mixture or marinated. Just be sure to use ingredients which will not mask the flavor of the fish or the wood.
Cooking planks can be bought in grocery stores, some fish markets, specialty cooking stores and online.
In small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and dill. Place fish in shallow dish, flesh side up, and cover with mixture.
Place soaked plank on grill, close lid and heat for 2 minutes. Turn plank and place fish on it.
Cook, with lid closed, until fish is done, about 18 to 20 minutes. Be sure to check for doneness before time is up.
Contributed by Joyce Taylor