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

4:19 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 Food
Photo by Steve Legato
A bright and briny salsa verde adds the finishing touch to this smoky salmon dish.

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: 

For the Salsa Verde: 

Photo by Steve Legato
This salmon gets a lush coat of smoky orange aioli before grilling or roasting.


  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.