Plank Grilled Salmon with Avocado Citrus Salsa

After months of weird, cold, rainy weather, summertime is finally here in the Bay Area, its time to light the grills and break out a few cold ones because BBQ season is here! We’re on the grill a lot in the summer, mostly because Eric loves to grill, but its doesn’t hurt that our little old house heats up like Hades when its hot out. The place just doesn’t give up its heat, so we find ourselves outside every chance we get. Especially when it comes to cooking, this weekend has been no different. We have a great patio where a summer house used to be. We had the house knocked down when we moved in and the cement floor and curtain foundation makes a perfect outdoor patio, complete with built in brick fireplace and BBQ. We also have an additional pair of Webber grills, a standard round 22″ and a old gas Webber. Eric actually converted the gas grill to an offset charcoal grill for slow cooking and indirect heat. He also claims to not be a collector of things, but Charisse disagrees. For this dish, it was the blue 22″ that was fired up with almost twice the normal number of coals. Usually a count between 22 and 28 coals will give you a perfect heat level on a Weber, but for plank grilling, you need a much higher than normal heat, so we stacked the chimney with 50. A charcoal chimney is one of the best inventions since George Stephen, Sr. cut a buoy in half and lit a fire in it. A simple cylinder with a grate 1/4 of the way up from the bottom, and strategically placed air holes you can have pile of ready to use coals in about 10 minutes with no lighter fluid to spoil the flavor. A must have for every summer. Since this was Eric’s dad Pat’s 56th birthday, we invited the fam and our close family friends the Woodworths over for a Friday night cookout. The Plank Grilled Salmon and Avocado Citrus Salsa was light and refreshing, a perfect contrast to the lingering summer heat and complimented with a chilled Pinot Grigio.

Pictures and cake after the break…

Eric’s sister Elaine handled dessert, a multi-colored 6 layer cake that was to die for. We are seriously considering making one for July 4th, using Red White and Blue. What do you think, should we go ahead and make the cake?

Plank Grilled Salmon
What You Will Need

Cedar Planks
Salmon steaks or fillet
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbs orange cointreau (orange flavored liqueur)

Soak your cedar planks in water for about 1 hour before cooking so the boards won’t burn

Heat up grill to a medium high heat

While your grill is heating up, bring the maple syrup and orange cointreau to a boil and simmer until it reduces by about half into a syrup.  Brush the top of your salmons with this mixture

Put the boards down on a hot grill for 2-3 minutes to heat one side. This is your cooking side. Flip the planks and set your salmon on the warm side. Make sure your lid stays closed during the initial cooking so the smoke can saturate you fish. Grill your salmon on the boards with lid shut for about 12-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon.  The fish should flake when tested with a fork when done. 

Top with Avocado Citrus Salsa

What You Will Need

1 cup orange sections
1 cup avocado (chopped)
1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs chives (minced)

Mix all the ingredients together and serve over smoked salmon