Thursday, December 3

Planking Fish

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These delicious and nutrient-heavy recipes will have you hooked

Walk the plank! If you haven’t yet used the popular method of grilling on wooden planks, why not? There’s no downside! On a plank, your fish doesn’t fall through the grill. Your food is imparted with flavor and aroma from the wood without the smoke, and your grill rack stays clean! If you have time to marinate a cut of meat, you have time to soak a cooking plank. Now jump into this!


Planking Basics

The purpose of using a plank for grilling or smoking fish is for adding flavor and keeping the end product moist.

Since fish is normally delicate, planks eliminate the need to turn or flip the fish during grilling.

Indirect heat with the lid of your grill closed will produce the best results in flavor and reduce any flare-ups.

Cedar planks are the most common to use for cooking fish of any kind. These are usually in packages of two and can be found nearly everywhere.

Just like wooden skewers, cedar planks should be soaked for at least 2 hours before using. Place in a shallow pan and cover with water. Since it will float, place a heavy can on top of the plank to keep it submerged in the water. Drain and use immediately.

If you want a more smoky flavor, allow the plank to air-dry (after soaking) up to 30 minutes before using.

For those in a rush, presoaked cedar planks are available. These are typically found in single packs.

Lemon Dill Salmon

Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 food-safe cedar plank, soaked in water for 2 hours before using
  • 2 salmon fillets, skinless
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon lemon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion or garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • Fresh dill sprigs for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the grill to medium (350 degrees). Drain the plank and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place the salmon skin-side-down on the plank and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, mayonnaise, dill, lemon pepper, salt and zest. Spread on top of the salmon fillets and top with lemon slices. Place the plank directly on the grill grate and cook 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately with a garnish of fresh dill.

Blackened Fish

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 food-safe cedar planks, soaked in water for 2 hours before using
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 large or 4 medium (½ inch thick) fish fillets of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the grill to medium (350 degrees). Drain the planks, spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, cayenne, pepper, paprika and thyme. Place two fillets on each grilling plank. Brush the tops of each fillet with the butter and sprinkle evenly with about 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture.
  3. Place the planks directly on the grill grate and cook 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.

Hot Grilled Grouper

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 large or 4 medium grouper or snapper fillets
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 food-safe cedar planks, soaked in water for 2 hours before using
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Instructions:
  1. Place the fillets in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, butter, hot sauce, oil, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Divide the mixture in half. Cover and refrigerate one half and pour the remaining mixture over the fish, turning once to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  3. Preheat the grill to hot heat (400-450 degrees). Meanwhile, remove the remaining marinade from the refrigerator and heat 30 seconds on low power in the microwave. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
  4. Remove the fillets from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the planks on the grill to heat. Flip over and add the fillets on top of the warm planks. Cover grill and cook 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Baste the fish with the reserved marinade. Serve hot with the parsley sprinkled on top.

Lure of the Grill Fresh Fish

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon, basil or chives
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 medium fish fillets of your choice
  • 4 food-safe cedar planks, soaked in water for 2 hours before using
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, basil or chives
Instructions:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the oil and chopped tarragon. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Add the juice, salt and pepper to the infused oil, whisking to blend.
  2. Place the fillets in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour the oil mixture over the fish. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  3. Prepare the grill to hot heat (400-450 degrees). Meanwhile, remove the fish from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  4. Place the planks on the grill to heat. Flip over and add the fillets on top of the warm planks. Cover grill and cook 10–12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Let stand 2 minutes before serving hot with lemon wedges and garnished with fresh herbs.

Maple Soy Salmon

Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
  • 2 salmon fillets, skinless
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 food-safe cedar planks, soaked in water for 2 hours before using
Instructions:
  1. Place the salmon fillets in a large zip-top bag. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, garlic, maple syrup, soy sauce, ginger and pepper. Shake to emulsify and pour over the salmon. Press as much air out of the bag as possible and seal. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning the bag over halfway through.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium (350 degrees). Drain the plank and spray lightly with cooking spray. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place the salmon skin-side-down on the planks. Discard the marinade. Place the planks directly on the grill grate and cook 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.

Halibut with Pineapple Salsa

Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup finely chopped (peeled) cucumber
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped purple onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic or onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ pounds or 2 halibut fillets (or other white fish of your choice)
  • 2 food-safe cedar planks, soaked in water for 2 hours before using
  • 2 tablespoons pepper jelly, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the pineapple, cucumber, cilantro, onions and garlic salt. Allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour to meld.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to hot heat (400–450 degrees). Rub the fillets on both sides with the vegetable oil and place on the planks. Brush the tops with the pepper jelly, then sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper. Cover grill and cook 10–12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve warm, topped with generous portions of the pineapple salsa.

ASK Chef Tammy

Dear Tammy,

Please tell me how to use rice paper. Mine is breaking all apart.

— Rick

Dear Rick,

Rice paper doesn’t actually come from the rice plant. It is the pith of the stem from an Asian tree commonly called the rice paper plant (Tetrapanax papyrifera). The edible produce is sold in sheets or rounds. To use, dip it into warm water to soften the brittle product. Then it can easily be used to wrap salad rolls or fish. You’ll find that it forms a seal quickly when wet.

Dear Tammy,

Can you please tell me about vanilla powder? I received some as part of a gift basket and need some advice for use.

— Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

That was a great gift! As the name suggests, this powder is made from dried vanilla beans that have been very finely ground. It is considered to impart a more vanilla-like flavor in foods because it doesn’t break down at all when heated. Use it the same way you would use vanilla extract. But use only half as much powder for the liquid amount.

Dear Tammy,

Would you please explain smoke point to me?

— Carl

Dear Carl,

Smoke points are measurements of fat ingredients used to fry foods. In order for the food that is fried to seal the outer batter and not absorb the fat, it has to be done at a relatively high temperature. Unfortunately, some of those fats cannot sustain that high temperature before breaking down themselves. This causes the fat to smoke and develop an off-flavor and aroma that can quickly transfer to the food you are trying to fry. Smoke points mean that the higher the point before it begins to smoke, the better it is for frying. Butter has a very low smoke point; however, peanut, sunflower, safflower and corn oils have high smoke points, which make them better for frying. The reason any oil should be discarded after three uses is because the smoke point reduces with each use.

Email your cooking questions to Tammy Algood:
talgood@tnelectric.org.
You might be featured in the next issue of The Tennessee Magazine!

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About Author

Tammy Algood

Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at talgood@tnelectric.org.

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