Cedar Plank Salmon

A side of Copper River Sockeye Salmon on a cedar plank with lemon slices and seasoned waiting for the grill to be warmed up.

We were back in Seattle this past week to celebrate our 10th Anniversary though we enjoyed a lot of local seafood, I didn’t do much cooking so this weeks post will be pretty brief. One of the many things Seattle is known for is seafood (and rain and yes it really does rain there a lot. Just not so much in the summer) and specifically, amazing salmon.  There are several species native to the rivers of the PNW and Alaska and this time of year, its easy to come by (if you’re in the PNW) and economical because it is in season. Elsewhere frozen may be the way to go. Sprouts carries some nice options for wild ethically caught frozen fish. I was able to pick up a side of fresh, wild caught Alaskan salmon from my local Von’s/Pavilions for about $18 per lbs. a few days ago.

You can use gas, charcoal or electric grill for this and cedar planks are available in the grilling section of hardware stores or online. Just soak the planks in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Preheat you grill if using gas or electric, or get you coals to white hot. If using charcoal, move the coals to one side of the grill  or gas/electric turn off one set of burners to create an indirect heat zone. Remove excess water from the cedar plank, and line with slices of lemons. Lay the salmon onto the lemon slices and remove pin bones. You can also ask your fish monger to do this for you. Lightly dust with the spice rub. Place the cedar plank on the indirect zone on the grill and cook until the fish turns a light opaque pink, this will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. Enjoy!

Spice Rub

  • 3 parts brown sugar
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part ground mustard seeds
  • ½ part cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 part salt
  • 1 part ground paprika

Mix everything in a large bowl until combined. I like to place mine in an old spice shaker. It makes for easier application and reduces cross contamination.

 

Is it al pastor or adobada?…..Yes!

A while back, the gang over at Buzzfeed’s Tasty had a recipe for making al pastor at home (you can find the link here). If you’ve not had the opportunity to have al pastor/adobada it’s usually pork that’s slow roasted on a rotating vertical spit called a trompo similar to shwarma and gyro meat. Tasty’s method involved slow roasting marinated pork on skewers that were stuck into half a pineapple to approximate the traditional trompo. Though it was an intriguing idea, I found that when I attempted to use Tasty’s method, my pork wasn’t cooked all the way through because it was difficult to get the pork evenly distributed over the pineapple. The execution doesn’t really work out but their flavor was close to al pastor that I’ve had at some of my favorite taquerias.

My method for al pastor/adobada is much simpler and has that great flavor combination of chili lime and pineapple that makes al pastor so popular, though I’ll admit it doesn’t have the wow factor of a taquero slicing perfect strips of crispy pork off the trompo  Like this guy…

Al Pastor/Adobada

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder with fat cap
  • 12 oz can of pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 4 TBS ground achiote
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 TBS ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 TSP chipotle powder
  • 1 TBS salt
  • pepper
  • corn tortillas
  • pineapple salsa*

Place all the ingredients except the pork, tortillas and pinapple salsa into a blender and blend until you have a loose paste. Place the pork shoulder into a large zip top bag and pour marinade over the pork. Seal the bag and let marinade for at least 4 hours but overnight is ideal.

Remove pork from marinade (reserve the marinade) and roast at 325F for 90 minutes. Remove from oven. Set oven to broil. Placed reserved marinade into a small pot and bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Cut the pork into 1/2 cubes and lay out on a greased cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes until pork starts to brown and crisp. Alternately, you can cook on the stove top using a griddle/cómal or a cast iron skillet.