Fire up the grill: Make smoky, saucy salmon on a cedar plank

I’ve been on a salmon kick for weeks now. I love that it’s adaptable to a range of marinades and sauces. It’s easy to grill, roast, pan-sear or poach. It’s filling. And, bonus, the leftover fillets are delicious when served cold or at room temp over lunchtime greens or grains.

I mean, what’s not to love? 

The following recipe, which we found in the 2017 cookbook “Red, White, and ‘Que,” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press), gives salmon a smoky, saucy treatment. The smokiness comes courtesy of a cedar plank and your backyard grill. But we’ve adapted the recipe to include an oven-roasting option. 



The following recipe is adapted from the book “Red, White, and ‘Que,” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, with permission of its publisher, Running Press.  

Planked Salmon with Smoky Orange Aioli and Salsa Verde  

“Planking is the easiest way to grill salmon. We like to use thick cedar oven planks on the grill, but you can also use thinner grilling planks—just make sure you soak them in water first so they don’t burn up on the grill. Make sure your salmon fillet fits the plank you have (trim the fish, if necessary). The combination of wild-caught pink salmon, fragrant orange aioli, and green herbs both looks and tastes great. The plank is also your serving platter.” – Karen Adler and Judith Fertig  

Serves 4  


For the Smoky Orange Aioli: 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest 
  • Juice of 1 orange 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika  

For the Salsa Verde: 

  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons capers 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 
  • 1 cup olive oil 
  • Kosher salt  


  1. Soak a cedar grilling or oven plank in water for 1 to 2 hours. (The longer the better.)  
  2. Prepare a medium-hot indirect fire in your grill, with the fire on one side and no fire on the other for plank grilling. (If oven-roasting, preheat the oven to 350F degrees.)  
  3. For the Smoky Orange Aioli, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  
  4. For the Salsa Verde, cut the stems off the parsley and place the parsley, garlic, capers, lemon zest, and olive oil in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until puréed. Season with salt and set aside.  
  5. Trim the salmon fillet to fit the plank, if necessary. Place the salmon on the plank; spread the aioli over the salmon and top with the Salsa Verde.  
  6. Place the plank on the grill grate on the indirect side. Close the grill lid and cook until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork in the thickest part, 20 to 30 minutes. (If oven-roasting fish, place sauced fillet on plank that has been set inside shallow roasting pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until flaky.)  
  7. Serve the salmon on the plank.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Food

Postcard from Paris: Chez Papa

Stopping in Paris for a few days on my way to the wine regions of France has become a ritual. There's usually a trip to Willi's Wine Bar on the Right Bank. Willi's has always served exceptional wine, but the cuisine was somewhat rustic. It has recently upped its game in the kitchen, for which I am grateful.  Joel Robuchon's l'Atelier, on the Left...
What. Just. Happened?! NCAAs amp up the March Madness
What. Just. Happened?! NCAAs amp up the March Madness

One word succinctly describes what's transpired so far in the NCAA Tournament:  Madness.  But even that's probably underselling it.  A comeback for the ages by Nevada. An entire region left without a Top 4 seed in the Sweet 16 for the first time in tourney history. The 16-seed winner UMBC, falling short in its attempt to extend its historic...
A treat for lemon lovers and beyond
A treat for lemon lovers and beyond

There are chocolate people, and there are vanilla people. I am a lemon person. Show me a dessert menu, and I’ll choose whatever is flavored with puckery lemon or any of her citrus sisters — lime, tangerine, kumquat, yuzu. Even as a kid, I went for lemon sorbet over the mint chocolate-chip ice cream. The combination of sugar cut with enough...
Revolution, Three Floyds among nation’s 50 largest craft brewers
Revolution, Three Floyds among nation’s 50 largest craft brewers

Revolution Brewing’s stature in the craft beer revolution just keeps on growing. The 8-year-old Chicago brewery was the nation’s 40th-largest craft brewer in 2017, according to rankings released Wednesday by the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade organization. In 2016, Revolution was the nation’s 46th-largest craft brewery...
Pour wine to savor and enjoy, not guzzle
Pour wine to savor and enjoy, not guzzle

When you think of the broad concept of “enjoying wine,” or at least when I think of it, it’s hard not to imagine a glass being raised. Sometimes it’s a person raising a glass in a gesture of “Cheers,” and other times, it’s a bottoms-up raising of the glass as someone takes a sip or a whiff of wine. But just...
More Stories