Recipe of the day: cedar salmon in a fennel crust

You probably already have a list of things to do this summer, like camping, a romantic picnic with your significant other, or a barbecue in the garden. Along with these fun destinations, summer is a great time to light up the grill and learn new cooking techniques, like making a cedar board for salmon.

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If you’ve been intimidated or unsure about including cedar planks in your summer grilling plans, we’re here to walk you through this simple, tasty, and age-old cooking method.

Why grill on cedar boards?

There are many good reasons why cedar boards are such a popular barbecue accessory. For one, grilling on a cedar board is one of the best ways to incorporate that seductive smoky flavor right into your food. Plus, it doesn’t use a lot of oil, so it’s a super healthy cooking method. After all, it is simple and can and does not require large or expensive equipment like a smoker. You can use cedar boards on gas or charcoal grills. And if you’re not a salmon fanatic, cedar boards can also be used to grill other types of seafood, burgers, chicken, or vegetables.

Can you use other wooden boards for grilling?

Yup! Maple, apple, pecan, alder, and cherry wood boards can all be used for grilling. They all have their own tastes so you can experiment to see what you like best. Just make sure to use untreated wood that has not been contaminated; For example, you don’t want to use an old plank (yuck). You can buy untreated wood from a lumber yard and cut it yourself, or you can buy wooden planks specially made for grilling. Whatever you use, make sure the wood is at least half an inch thick.

Is barbecuing with cedar planks a fire hazard?

Grilling with cedar planks is completely safe – if you do it right. Just putting the boards on the grill is sure to catch fire. So avoid one major grilling mistake and soak the board in water for an hour before placing it.

How to grill salmon on a cedar board

Once you’ve soaked your planks, it’s time to preheat your outdoor grill. When it’s nice and hot, place the cedar boards on the grill until the boards smoke and crackle.

You can just cook the salmon, with a little salt and pepper or maybe a few lemon wedges. But here we get a little fancy with a delicious fennel topping. While the boards are heating, combine the grated fennel, olive oil, sliced ​​shallots, thyme, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. A helpful tip when making this recipe is to use a mandolin to shave the fennel and shallots into equally thin slices. However, if you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a very sharp knife to cut as thin as possible. Then season your salmon fillets with salt and pepper before adding the fennel mixture to the salmon fillets.

Gently brush the toasted cedar boards with olive oil before placing the salmon on top to cook. Finally, cover the grill and cook the salmon to the desired degree of doneness. Serve this delicious salmon with a salad and a lemon wedge as a side dish and you’ll learn why this dish is one of the absolute best seafood recipes.

Recipe for salmon with a fennel crust made from cedar wood

This recipe is from Peter Boulukos, culinary director and head chef at YOLO in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This recipe was originally published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.


  • 4 cedar boards, untreated, approximately 7 “by 3”

  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 cups shaved fennel bulb, sliced ​​1/16 inch thick

  • 3/4 cups sliced ​​shallots, sliced ​​1/16 inch thick

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

  • 4 (7 ounce) skinless salmon fillets


Step 1: Place 4 untreated cedar boards in a container large enough to weigh them down. Soak the boards in water for 1 hour to prevent them catching fire.

Step 2: Heat an outdoor grill to medium heat, about 325F. Place cedar boards on the grill and heat until the boards smoke and crackle, about 15 minutes.

Step 3: In a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3/4 cup of fennel, 3/4 cup of sliced ​​shallots, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Throw to combine.

Step 4: Season 4 (7-ounce) skinless salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Spread the fennel and shallot mixture evenly over the salmon fillets.

Step 5: Brush the cedar boards with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the salmon from sticking. Place the salmon fillets on toasted cedar boards.

Step 6: Close the grill cover and cook on medium-seldom with an internal temperature of 125 ° F or the desired degree of cooking.

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