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Cedar plank salmon with basil aioli


Cedar plank cooking is a great way to infuse foods with some beautiful, subtle smokiness. Salmon does particularly well with cedar, as there’s an old food pairing guideline that suggests “if it grows together, it goes together.” The Pacific Northwest is a haven for both the fish and the tree, so it makes perfect sense they go so well together.

The following simple recipe was derived out of a desire to help elevate the beautiful, rich flavor of salmon that we have up here in the Seattle area. It is so good that it will win over the “I don’t like salmon” crowd.

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  • Basil Aioli:
  • Fillet of salmon
  • Cedar plank
  • 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • Slices of fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest


Preparation time 60mins
Cooking time 20mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Soak the plank in water for at least one hour before using.

It’s a great time to prepare the aioli while the plank is soaking. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour so the flavors can develop.

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees and then place the plank on the grill and allow to warm up for 5 minutes.

Season the salmon with the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and brown sugar. Take your hand and make sure these ingredients are rubbed into the fish rather well.

Keep the skin on the fillet, as it will help prevent the meat from sticking to the plank and hold it together. Place directly on the plank and allow to cook for approximately 15 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 125 degrees. Squeeze on some of the fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.

This dish pairs very well with long-grain rice or baby potatoes as a starch and a Pinot Noir from Oregon. A few great producers from Oregon that come to mind would be from La Cadeau Winery, Argyle Winery, Libra Winery and Ghost Hill Cellars.

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