It’s always exciting when the king salmon run starts on the West Coast! Cooking the fillets on cedar planks imparts a subtle smoky depth to this vitamin-rich fish, but if you don’t have planks you can simply grill the salmon and brush the marinade over the fish during the last couple of minutes. This recipe has Asian influences, so we like to serve it with nori wrappers, pickled ginger, sushi rice, and a spicy salad. If you can get your hands on a whole side of salmon, it will have a big dramatic impact at the table, but then you’ll need a larger plank.
Step 1: Scrub 2 to 3 cedar planks and soak in water for 1 hour (see note). Place the salmon in a shallow container and rub the salt over it.
Step 2: Whisk together the miso, sake, syrup, tamari, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour the marinade over the fish, including the skin side. Let marinate in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring the fish to room temperature before grilling.
Step 3: Light a charcoal or gas grill. If using charcoal, your coals are ready for grilling when you aren’t able to hold your hand over them for more than 4 seconds. If using gas, turn to medium.
Step 4: Place the soaked planks on the grill. Place the salmon skin side down on the planks. Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes. Lift the lid and check to make sure the planks didn’t catch fire, then continue to cook until the fish starts to flake, about 10 minutes longer. If the salmon is super-fresh, being slightly under-cooked is preferred. It will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the grill. Overcooking the fish will make it dry, so keep a close eye on it.
Step 5: Using a large spatula, slide the fish off the planks onto a board or dish. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Note: If the cedar planks are not soaked enough, they will catch fire and ruin the fish! To be safe, check the fish and the planks after about 5 minutes on the grill.