If you want to spice up your life then have a go at this recipe for Cedar Plank Trout. This cooking technique is one of my favourites and will leave you with a plateful of succulent moist fish with a little creamy chilli kick. Delicious.
What is cooking on a cedar plank?
Cedar plank cooking has been used by the Native Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest in the USA for over a thousand years. In that region there has always been an abundance of fish to eat including Salmon, Trout and Char. The barbecuing method of grilling on Cedar planks is one of the best ways to cook fish and other meats. As the Cedar plank is heated by the direct flames of a grill the moisture pulls wood flavour out of the wood and gently cooks the fish with a mixture of steam from the bottom while baking from the top. It leaves the flesh moist and gives dishes a fragrant smoky flavour. You can also use this method to cook meat, other fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and vegetables.
step 1 – ingredients
- Cedar planks
- 2 Fillets or four steaks of trout
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Franks Hot Sauce
- Soft Brown Sugar
- Fresh Coriander for Garnish
step 2 – Preparation
There are a whole host of cedar planks available online on eBay and my preference is a 14 x 37 x 1 cm boards. This size is perfect for either trout steaks, whole fillets from a 2lb fish or portioned fillets. The actual planks are not cheap, but who doesn’t love great tasty food once in a while.
It’s a very simple process to prepare the board. Simply submerge the plank in warm water for around an hour until the plank is wet to the core. waterlogging the board serves two purposes. One it stops the wood from burning too quickly and two it helps steam the flesh from the bottom side. You may have to help keep the wood submerged as it will want to float. I like to use a glass filled with water. The wife came up with that idea. Once fully wet it is time to prepare the fish.
step 3 – Seasoning your fish
For this recipe I used two tail fillets from a couple of 4lb trout I had caught at Rutland Water. After taking the skin off place the fish onto the soaked board. Season with some Kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper. Any restaurant worth its weight will only use Kosher salt. It is natural and free from iodine and any anti clogging agents such as Calcium silicate. Freshly ground pepper is best as you release all the oils and flavours that have been tucked up inside each peppercorn.
Next take some hot sauce. I used a teaspoon of Franks Red Hot Sauce on each fillets and spread it all over the flesh. I just prefer Franks but Nandos or Sriracha will do just fine. Or just leave it out.
Next take a teaspoon of full fat mayonnaise and spread it over the fillet using the same spoon so it mixes together with the hot sauce. Then sprinkle a level teaspoon of brown sugar all over the surface to finish off. Your cedar plank trout is now ready for cooking.
step 4 – cooking
I use my gas BBQ to cook my fish. I like the BBQ because you can get the wood to burn and smoke and get that lovely smoky flavour. You can use an oven but a BBQ is best. Light your BBQ with the lid down and heat to around 400F. Once it has reached its temperature place the plank in the middle of your grill plate, close the lid and turn down to a medium heat. At this point it is always handy to have a spray bottle filled with water. Because of the immense heat you want to avoid what’s called “flare ups”. This is when the wood catches fire. You can spray the flames to dampen down the fire and keep it under control with the sprayer.
step 5 – when is it ready?
As a guide I would cook two pieces of fish like this for around ten minutes maximum. You do not want to over cook the fish. Remember fish keeps cooking after you have removed it from the heat. I would rather have slightly underdone fish than over done. I like the idea of using a fork and seeing if the fish flakes away to see if it is ready. If it is really undercooked then just chuck it back on the grill for a bit longer.
Once the fish is ready, tear up some fresh coriander and sprinkle on top. I like to serve the fish on the plank. Make sure you dip the plank in a shallow tray of water to extinguish the embers and to stop the house from burning down.
So there you have it, cedar plank trout. My suggestion would be is to serve it with some new potatoes and some green vegetables or a garden salad.
Why not take a look at my cold smoked trout two part series by Clicking here