Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wild Alaskan Salmon Grilled on Cedar Planks

I was invited to this food event put on by Stop & Shop and I took Edie with me because Lucy was still in school. The event was at Aqua Grill downtown and the Chef, Jeremy Marshall did a cooking demo for us. I'm going to be making his ricotta sorbet for our Fourth of July party in the country, so I'll post it here when I've made a few batches. It was lovely.

Edie sat on my lap the whole time, eating little toasts out of the basket, drinking cranberry juice out of a wine goblet and watching the demo intently, but by the end of the lunch, she was more than ready to leave. I call Edie "my co-pilot" because she's a mama's girl and she'll sit through anything as long as I'm right there. She liked the event and enjoyed the chef and all the cooking and stuck her nose up at the children's pasta they served and preferred the grown-up shrimp, but it wasn't totally her idea of a dream day.

When we went to pick-up Lucy from school, I over heard Edie telling her she saw "a chef and the chef was cooking and we ate in a fancy restaurant." There was silence. I turned and saw Lucy's whole face drop. Tears welled up in her eyes and spilled out down her cheeks. She ran to me. She was sad, angry, trying to figure out exactly what she had missed.

"You went to see a chef cook without me? Why didn't you wait until I got out of school? You know I like to cook and Edie doesn't..."

She cried for a bit into my shoulder as I tried to explain things, fumbling around awkwardly for the words, and told her that when she was on vacation I would take her to see a chef demo. That she was next. That Edie just had her turn first. But still she cried. It didn't stop for a long time. It was pure hurt.

And I realized that Edie cooks with me because it's something we do together, but Lucy doesn't do it to be with me. She genuinely likes cooking. She is really interested in it. She wants to see a chef demo, go to the Fancy Food Show this week. She wants to experience cooking in a grown-up way.

And so, I'll be looking for grown-up cooking things to take her to this summer. Maybe even something at CIA. We'll see. In the meantime, we made one of Lucy's favorite foods, salmon. Or "pink fish" as she's been calling it since she was two. Since we are at the house in the country, we made it on the grill.

This meal couldn't have been more simple. Some fish grilled on cedar, a salad with spinach, tomatoes, avocado, a little salt and Asiago cheese, a lemon and olive oil dressing, and grilled vegetables with olive oil, salt, thyme and chives. And we all drank large glasses of sparkling water, just because we're fancy.

Simple. Simple. But the perfect anecdote to hurt feelings.

xo YM


I used Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon for this dish. It's really all about having fresh, wild salmon because there isn't much adornment here. You really want to taste the fish. It should taste rich and wild. You can get the cedar plants at most big grocery stores, usually in the fish section. Soak the planks overnight or even an hour before you grill. They'll float in the water, so submerge them with a heavier object so they get good and soaked through. They get very burnt-looking when cooking. They'll be fine, and will not explode into flames, but if you are nervous about them catching fire you can keep a spray bottle of water next to the grill for possible dousing. A roughly one pound salmon fillet will serve 2 adults and a couple small kids.

Wild Alaskan Salmon Grilled on Cedar Planks


1 Pound or so, fresh, wild salmon (cut into portion-sized slices)
3/4 Teaspoon Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive Oil
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chives, finely chopped
Juice from 2 lemons
2 grilling planks


Get the grill nice and hot for about 10 minutes. While it's heating up, rinse your fish, pat it dry, cut into slices, and baste each piece with a little olive oil. Season with a little kosher salt. Cut a couple of lemon slices and reserve them for the top of the fish. Squeeze lemon juice right from the remaining lemon onto the fish. Sprinkle the herbs onto fish. Add a lemon slice to each one. Set them on a platter and bring them to the grill.

When the grill is hot, turn it down a bit to a medium-low heat. Put the planks right on the grill, without the fish. Let them get hot on one side, about a minute, flip them for another minute. You might have a little smoke, that is normal. Embrace it. Feel like a cave man. Put the salmon right on the hot planks, close your grill cover, and cook about 10 minutes. Don't overcook them.



Warner (aka ntsc) said...

I think the minimum age for actual cooking at CIA is 8. My wife has taken a grand niece who has shown an interest in cooking since she became aware of it.

They did a parent/child Saturday on deserts a child could do.

Jenious said...

"Pink fish" would mend my hurt feelings too. :) And, come to think of it, so would a class at the CIA! (My sister studied there and I'm kind of envious of that.)

Cheryl Arkison said...

My Monster calls it pink fish too, but prefers it as sashimi.

Cali said...

i wish i had a grill... i need to work on that...

Jen said...

I asked my son what kinds of camps he would like to join for the summer. We went through the choices and one of his choices was cooking camp. A great caterer in town has kids' camps now, so yesterday he was draped in an apron and they made stuffed baked potatoes, nachos and chocolate dipped strawberries. As far as I'm concerned, a boy who can cook will grow into a man that can cook...and who doesn't love a man who can cook? lol.

ps: Your kids are so joyful. I love all the photos you post, it's like you capture their wild loveliness so perfectly.

The Mulligan Family said...

Simple and it sounds delicious. We love "pink fish" too!

Love the photos too! Such sheer abandon and happiness there!

Cheers, Cindy

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