Sunday Dinner: Cedar Planked Salmon with Maple Glaze

After my foray into raw chicken, with bones, and innardy things (although not actual innards) I tucked tail and ran back to familiar territory.

Y’all, this recipe was so, so delicious. Best yet of the Jim Seger Sunday series.

Two things to know about my Dad in relation to food:

1. He did not care about the nutritional information associated with his food. He wasn’t junk food eater, but neither was he temperate in his consumption (of anything). One night he served me a shrimp scampi floating in a broth of butter and served with huge hunks of crusty, buttery garlic bread. He was honestly suprised when I pointed out that we would pay for that in poundage. I still cleaned my plate, and you would have too. But I thought about it, and he didn’t. That isn’t so relevant to the current recipe.
2. He did not care how much food cost. He wanted to eat what he wanted to eat. Period. This will come into play momentarily.

What I know about cooking meat could fill a thimble. What I know about cooking fish could fill… a big thimble? One of those thimbles you might see at a country fair. Something for your shadow box. Ceramic. Maybe painted with a duck.

I do know how to text (barely) “FISH kindoffish” to 30644 and get instant feedback from the Blue Ocean Institute on whether my choice is sustainable or if it’s loaded up with, say, fire retardants and other poisons. I am trying to cut back on my heavy metal consumption. It’s super cool. Try it!

There’s some nattering back and forth about wild salmon vs. farmed. For me, I’ll take the cost of wild with the reduced contaminent exposure. We may not eat it as often, but I feel better about putting it on the table.

So I hit Earth Fare to get some free-range dinner, and I wish I could tell how much I paid per pound but I blacked out a little bit.

I also picked up the cedar planks and some maple syrup. You know what else costs a lot of money? Pure maple syrup. When did it get so expensive to be a hippie?

I held my nose and bought a $10 small bottle of maple syrup, rationalizing that what was left would make our weekend pancakes extra delicious.

The recipe called for one cup of syrup. Guess how much is in a little bottle? Yup.

So, not even getting into the other ingredients, the wild salmon, pure maple syrup and cedar planks kicked this recipe up into the umpteen gabillion dollar range. Which is not something my Dad would have noticed, but it got my attention. We could have eaten a pretty decent restaurant meal for the same cash, and someone else would have delivered drink refills to my kids.

Still, so delicious. And I will say that my palate is not sophisticated enough to appreciate the cedar planks. If you skipped those, ditched the wild salmon (that you can’t even be sure you’re getting) for farmed and brought in Aunt Jemima and you’d be in business for a reasonable cost. I haven’t tried that, so I can’t speak to the taste attrition. I think it’s worth trying.

Recipe #3: Cedar Planked Salmon with Maple Glaze from, sourced from Gourmet (RIP) November 1997.


5 responses to this post.

  1. It’s only money, little pieces of paper with pictures of dead men on it.


  2. Posted by jen on April 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    wild salmon is worth it (easy for me to say as a resident of the PNW). but you can cut way back on the maple syrup or change it up with miso (cheaper) and honey and possibly rice vinegar. equally delicious. the maple plank also not necessary, I agree. grilled salmon — over regular old coals is fine — is also amazing and easy.


    • Jen, the miso/honey/vinegar suggestions are much appreciated! I’m a fan of all of those things, so maybe I’ll play around a little.

      As a PNW resident, I’m wondering if you have any insight into the whole “wild salmon is not really wild salmon” debate. The NYT article is from 05, but I couldn’t find anything from a source I trusted that was more current.


  3. Posted by jen on April 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I remember that article. I don’t know anything about labelling practices outside the PNW, but generally any fishmonger (I love that word) should be able to tell you what kind of salmon you’re getting exactly (I think king and sockeye are most common far from Alaska/BC/WA & OR, but silver and coho are also possible). Farmed Atlantic salmon (and there’s usually no such thing as wild Atlantic salmon in this country) is usually mushier and has a blander taste than anything from Pacific waters. I think it is still true that it is hard to get wild salmon in the wintertime.


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