Salmon is such a versatile fish. This is a very simple hot smoked dish but one that looks rather impressive and can also be served on the wooden planks on which they were smoked for a slightly different ‘twist’.
Using a cedar-wood plank is a great way to smoke fish, such as salmon fillet, to perfection on the Big Green Egg. The plank will impart a subtle smoky flavour itself and so whilst it is perfect for the Big Green Egg – this would work in any BBQ, ideally where you can cook largely indirect, and would also work in a domestic oven.
In this recipe the salmon is first brined – if anything making the salmon more tender as well as adding a little flavour from the orange pepper and herbs. Adding the mixture of fennel and tarragon (or in this case fennel and bronze fennel) adds some additional flavour and texture and also adds visual appeal. The original recipe (https://www.biggreenegg.eu) suggested flaking the salmon and serving on grilled brioche buns, but we decided to serve whole with green vegetables as they looked so appetising!
The whole thing is really straightforward you just need to think ahead as the brining takes around 2hrs but can be left for longer.
The brine is prepared with warm water as described below and left to cool in the fridge. Once cool the salmon fillets are added and left in the fridge for at least 2 hours. On this occasion they were left for 4 hours. Around 2 hours before you want to start cooking soak the cedar plank(s) in water and weight it down so they are completely covered. Light the Big Green Egg or other BBQ or oven at suitable time to bring the cooking temperature up to 150C when you need to start the cooking. On the BGE the configuration is a simple indirect setup with the grill placed onto the Platesetter.
The fennel was sliced thinly with a mandolin grater and the finely chopped tarragon or bronze fennel was mixed in with it together with the zest of a lime. The original recipe suggests putting the salmon on the plank and then adding the topping. I prefer to warm the plank in the EGG and assemble to topping separately. When ready, the hot plank is taken out of the EGG and turned over (so hottest surface is on top) and the salmon and its topping was placed on the plank and put back in the Egg. An indwelling temperature probe was put in place just to make life simple – we were looking for an internal temperature of 62C. It took about 20 mins for the salmon to cook through (to a temperature of 62C). When cooking this way the salmon usually ‘oozes’ some clear or white protein rich liquid. This is perfectly fine – but I prefer to remove this before serving
Whilst the salmon was cooking we steamed some green beans and asparagus. Once the salmon was removed from the EGG it was left to stand on the plank for a few minutes and ‘tidied up’. Then it was simply plated and served with the steamed vegetables.
The salmon had a delightful almost ‘creamy’ texture and a light flavouring of smoke and orange – a real simple delight!
…………………….. do give it a try!
Cedar-wood Salmon with Fennel
Brined Salmon Filets lightly smoked on Cedar-wood with a Fennel crust
- 2 Salmon Filets - Skin on
- 1 Fennel bulb
- 20 g Bronze fennel or Tarragon
- Zest of lime
- Salt and pepper
- For the brine
- 25g Salt
- 30g Sugar (not in original recipe)
- 10 peppercorn
- 2 strips of orange peel
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- Step 1 Dissolve the salt in a half litre of lukewarm water together with the strips of orange peel, peppercorns and thyme. Pour the brine in to a suitable dish and leave to cool in the fridge.
- Step 2 Once cool, add the salmon fillets to the dish and leave in the fridge for 2 hours. Soak the cedar-wood plank for 2 hours in a container of water. Weight the wood down to ensure completely immersed.
- Step 3 Light the Big Green Egg (or other BBQ/Oven) and set up for indirect cooking at 150C. About 15 mins before needed put the plank on the grill, cooking side down to warm through.
- Step 4 Grate the fennel into very thin slices using a mandolin grater, add the finely chopped fennel fronds or tarragon and add a little zest of lime and some salt and pepper.
- Step 5 Remove the salmon from the brine and pat dry. Add the chopped fennel to form a crust and place skin down on the heated surface of the cedar-wood plank. Return the plank to the BGE and cook for around 20 mins until the internal temperature reaches 62C
- Step 6 Serve with French beans/asparagus