Walking the plank has never been so delicious!
Not to be confused with the relatively recent fad act of planking (lying face down with arms to the sides of the body, in unusual public spaces and photographing it), planking (in the culinary world) is the act of unleashing the delicious natural flavors present in wood, often cedar, using it as natures cooking sheet to broil or barbeque salmon to perfection.
Planking salmon is more than the preparation of a meal. It is equal parts art and science. To do it right, planking requires the careful blending of ingredients to achieve the perfect flavour. Quality ingredients are only part of the equation – there is also the selection and preparation of the plank itself. Wood must be carefully selected, carved, sometimes soaked or smoked and dried. The preparation process itself used to take hours for the chef…until Cedar Bay Grilling Company, a Blandford, Nova Scotia based company took it upon themselves to change salmon history.
Cedar Bay Grilling Company is a locally operated company that makes putting delicious cedar-planked salmon on your table easy. Co-founded by Doug and Barb Park just three years ago, Cedar Bay has already been recognized as an innovator for their production of products from the sea that are healthy and simple to prepare.
Barb notes that the company was founded to meet three concepts:
1) People want to eat more seafood for its health benefits
2) People generally don’t like to touch seafood
3) People need a hand in appropriately seasoning their seafood
Barb and Doug have taken a family recipe for planked salmon and found a unique method to address the points above. In the process, their cedar-planked salmon has garnered national and international acclaim.
In 2009, Cedar Bay took home three honours for its planked salmon at the Canadian Council of Grocers and Distributors Grand Prix Awards including Best in Seafood and Deli, Most Innovative and Original Product as well as Most Healthy Innovation. They also received international acclaim last year at the renowned 2010 Boston International Seafood Show, winning “Best New Retail”, an award bestowed upon the most innovative product of the year.
Barb and Doug are particularly proud of the health benefits of their planked salmon. Offering tasty treats that provide a great source of omega 3 and 6, they are one of few barbeque items on the market that bear the Heart Healthy icon.
My Cedar Bay experience started last week. I picked up three varieties of frozen planked salmon at my local Sobeys and got to work (by work I mean turning on the barbeque and sipping on a glass of Gaspereau Vineyards 2009 Muscat, as recommended by my friends at Bishops Cellar). Cedar Bay couldn’t make it any more simple:
1. Defrost delicious salmon
2. Pre-heat BBQ at medium
3. Remove delicious salmon from package and place on BBQ
4. Cook delicious salmon for 12-15 minutes
5. Attempt to avoid salivating due to delicious aroma created by delicious salmon as it cooks
6. Resist temptation to consume delicious salmon immediately and allow delicious salmon to cool for 2-5 minutes to avoid burnttounguefrombitingintodelicioussalmontooearly syndrome
On the glorious evening I discovered Cedar Bay, a few friends and myself feasted on the Maple & Smoked Pepper, Applewood with Orange & Ginger, and Sugar & Spice varieties. Complimented by roasted potatoes and fiddleheads, the result is best described by the words of “Macho” Man Randy Savage…. “Oohhhhhh yeahh!”
The Sugar & Spice was my personal favorite. Blending brown sugar, cracked black pepper, basil and a hint of tarragon, this filet clearly walked the plank and plunged into a sea of flavor. Applewood with Orange & Ginger brought to the table a heavy infusion of orange with subtle ginger overtones. If you are a citrus enthusiast, this is worth a try. The Maple & Smoked Pepper was a real crowd pleaser. A delicious interpretation of a classic salmon recipe, this fish meant business, offering nice hints of maple combined with some zing from spices and natural smoke.
Cedar Bay planked salmon is available at Costco, Loblaws and Sobeys locations across the country in individual and “Big Fish” (18” full fillets) sizes. Barb is also very excited about the launch of two new products, a line of spice rubs called Seafood Savours (great pun!) and the Cedar Bay Atlantic Salmon Burger (just salmon and spice, no breadcrumbs or preservatives).
Don’t be shellfish, invite a few friends over and throw some Cedar Bay salmon on the BBQ this summer!