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Although wild salmon is available fresh May through September, it is also available frozen or canned year round. Just make sure to check the packaging for its origins. You  want salmon that was caught in the Pacific off of the northwest or Alaskan coastline. Cedar planks for outside grilling are readily available in cooking stores and grocery marts. Grilling on soaked cedar planks imparts a lovely smoky flavor to the fish.


  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 2-lb. boneless, skin-on wild salmon fillets, preferably no longer than 15 inches
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup creme fraiche
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1½ tablespoons prepared horseradish


  1. Soak the cedar planks in water to cover for at least 1 hour. Drain the planks.
  2. To make the sauce, stir together the creme fraiche, chives, and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper; refrigerate covered until ready to serve. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)
  3. For the salmon, combine the lemon zest, thyme, sugar, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until the zest is distributed throughout. Rub the salmon fillets on both sides with the olive oil and then set each fillet skin side down on a plank. Sprinkle the fillets with the lemon-pepper mixture, dividing it evenly. Gently rub the seasoning on the fillets. Let stand at room temperature while the grill heats.
  4. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking with high heat. On a gas grill, heat all burners on high, then turn off all but one burner just before cooking. On a charcoal grill, bank the coals to two opposite sides of the grill. Arrange the planks over the cooler part of the grill, positioning them so that the thickest part of the fish is closest to the heat source.
  5. Cover the grill and cook until the thickest part of each fillet registers about 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 20-35 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. The planks may smoke a bit (this is fine) and will become very aromatic. Let the fillets rest on the planks for 5-10 minutes before serving. Cut the salmon fillets crosswise into serving portions and transfer to individual plates. Serve with the sauce. Makes 4-6 servings. (Any leftover salmon can be cooled, wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days, and used in salads, pasta dishes, or sandwiches.)

Source: Fine Cooking, May 2011

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Barbara Walch

Barbara Walch joined the staff of Plano Profile in August 1986 and currently serves as Food Editor and Associate Publisher, Community Relations. In addition to writing Dining In, a monthly food feature,...