Ready for some of the best salmon you've ever had?
If you like cedar and you like salmon, I'm confident that you'll love this recipe.
The maple balsamic dijon marinade acts as a delicious glaze without being too sweet or taking away from the salmon flavor. The cedar adds an amazing and very distinct cedar smoked flavor that goes well with so many seafood dishes such as salmon, scallops, or shrimp.
This works equally well as an elegant meal for guests or a quick (with prep) weekday meal for the family.
I have cooked this exact recipe countless times and it never gets old. My son craves it, my wife claims she hasn't had better salmon anywhere (even in some of the fancy restaurants we have eaten in) and it's really simple to make!
It's hard to go wrong with this dish.
Step 1: Ingredients
The following ingredients are needed for this recipe.
- ~1.5 lbs of Salmon
- 3 Tbsp Vermont Maple Syrup (Grade A Dark if possible)
- 3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tbsp Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tsp Garlic powder
- 1/2 Cup water
- 1 Cedar Plank (Amazon)
- Don't even think of trying this recipe with fake maple syrup
- For better tasting aged balsamic vinegar on a budget, see this great tip on how to instantly age the cheap stuff
- See the "Cedar Plank Preparation" step for more details on where to find cedar planks
Step 2: Cedar Plank Preparation
Where to find planks
Cedar planks can typically be found at your local grocery store in the seafood or seasonal sections. You can also purchase them online from Amazon here. The ones linked are the exact same planks that I use although I was lucky enough to find them locally.
Soak the plank
Put the cedar plank in a large container, dish, or sink and submerge with water. It should soak for a minimum of 60 minutes, but could also sit overnight prior to cooking.
Step 3: Combine Ingredients
Put everything in a bowl and mix thoroughly
Step 4: Prepare Salmon
Wash Salmon and check for any bones using your hand.
Cut into desired portion sizes.
Step 5: Marinate the Salmon
Let the flavors mingle
- Place salmon and mixture in resealable bag
- Mix around until coated very well
- Marinate over night, turning several times before it is time to cook
- You can get away with marinating for just an hour, but the maple dijon flavor won't be as pronounced (or as good in my opinion).
Step 6: Prepare Grill
You may want to keep a spay bottle of water nearby for this step in case your cedar plank decides to catch fire (rarely if ever happens to me).
Pre-heat grill on high. When temp reaches ~ 425F, lower middle burner to medium and place cedar plank right over the middle burner. If you don't have a middle burner, reduce heat to medium on burner(s).
When the plank begins to smoke and crackle (such as seen and heard in the video below), you are ready to grill!
Step 7: Cook the Salmon
Place Salmon on the cedar plank as shown in my picture. I like to go at a slight angle so the edges don't get too crispy.
Put the marinade aside in a small bowl with a brush for later.
Close lid and cook for 10 minutes. Don't open the lid or touch anything. The plank should be smoking consistently as seen in my video below. This is where the magic cedar flavor happens, and also why you need to keep the lid closed.
After 10 minutes, apply a coat of marinade to the salmon. It should now look something like this:
Close the lid and continue cooking. Discard the rest of the marinade. Your grill temp should be at around 400F.
Your salmon should be done after about 8 more minutes (18 minutes total cooking time).
You know it is done when it flakes off easy and has just the "right amount" of juice action going on as seen below (and above - click for larger view).
Remove the cedar plank carefully and place on a baking sheet. The sheet will get VERY hot very fast, so don't put it down on counters and use appropriate towel or potholders to carry.
Step 8: Load Up a Plate and Enjoy!
I know nothing about food presentation as you can probably tell (my priority has always been around eating it!).
Way too much green on this plate, but the sesame oil & seeded asparagus, classic rice pilaf, and basic maple-balsamic vinaigrette over spinach was fantastic!
This reheats very well as leftovers although it will be less juicy the second time around.
Lots of great sauces could also be added to make this unique each time such as:
- Creamy Dill Sauce
- Herbed Butter Sauce
- Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
Hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you try it!
Bonus Recipe - Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Since you have most of the ingredients on hand, why not make this super simple dressing to go along with a salad?
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Grade A VT Maple Syrup
- 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
- Ground Pepper to taste
- Dash of salt to taste
Extra Bonus: Want to make a very simple but amazing salad?
- Simply use mixed greens or spinach alone
- Add sliced strawberries
- Add crumbles of fresh chèvre (goat cheese)
The simplicity of this salad coupled with the Maple-Balsamic dressing are out of this world. The flavors go amazingly well together.