My family visited Alaska prior to a 6-day Alaskan Cruise to Vancouver on Carnival. We flew into Anchorage and stayed at Alyeska Adventures, a delightful bed and breakfast in Girdwood, AK.
We stayed in the Kenai room, and had access to their lovely deck with a grill. The owners of the B&B, Mark and Shoman, made the most awesome breakfasts. They purposely built the house as a B&B and in the upstairs section where they lived they had built the most beautiful kitchen.
We did several planned day trips all over the Alaskan peninsula, including hiking up to a glacier, a trip to the top of Alyeska Mountain, a float trip and – the dream of a lifetime for me, which I did on my own, a day of fly fishing in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula with my guide Mike Welemin of Kenai River Fly Fishing.
At the time of year we were there trout fishing was catch and release, but salmons could be caught and kept with the proper license. I caught a beauty. It was myself, my wife Val and my son Calvin on this trip so just the 3 of us but I did all the fishing.
The problem? No easy or inexpensive way to ship the caught fish home, and even if we did we wouldn’t be there to get it since we were hopping on a cruise ship after this. The solution? Grill the fish there!
We modified a recipe for cedar plank salmon to work on any grill, with or without a cedar plank. The fish was so delicious fresh out of the water – nothing like fish that’s been caught at sea, frozen and shipped to home to Rochester, NY.
The recipe turned out so well that we offered our leftovers to our hosts and they loved it enough to ask us for the recipe. Here it is for your enjoyment:
Cedar Plank Salmon with a Three Fruit Glaze
Either enough foil to enclose the entire fish in a foil wrapper, or a cedar plank large enough to hold the fish (we did the foil since cedar planks were not to be found).
A gas or charcoal grill with a lid that closes, large enough to hold the fish and the plank.
- One whole salmon – gutted and cleaned, but not filleted or boned (you can remove the fins and spine fin)
- 2 fresh lemons, one cut into wedges for garnish, one zested, then sliced into thin slices and cut each slice in 1/2
- 3/4 cup fruit jam (apricot/peach/passion fruit blend works well) or any kind of single fruit stone fruit jam, OR 3/4 cup marmalade of any sort
- 4 Tsp Grated Horseradish or 2 Tsp wasabi
- 1 Tbsp Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 Tsp Sea salt (enough to lightly cover fish by sprinkling on inside and out)
Pre-heat the grill to medium high temperature
Prepare the fish by cutting 3-6 slices into the outer skin diagonally and at an angle into the flesh, almost to the bone but not through.
Slice lemon into slices, cut each slice and half and put them into the slits you just cut, and the gills.
Sprinkle the inside and outside with sea salt.
Mix the prepared horseradish with 3/4 cup or so of the jam and the lemon zest, if using wasabi use 1/2 as much as regular horseradish.
Cover the entire outside of the fish in the jam/horseradish mix. If more is needed, make it with similar proportions.
Sprinkle the outside of the fish with the coarsely ground black pepper – again grind more if needed.
Either seal the foil packet on all edges or place the fish on a cedar plank
Oil the grill grate and put the foil packet or plank on the grill and grill over medium high until fish reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees (approximately 15-18 minutes).
If using foil, flip 1/2 way through; if using a cedar plank, leave it alone.
Pull cedar plank or foil packet from grill and let rest on the plank or in the packet for 2 minutes.
If using a foil packet CAREFULLY open the packet – very hot steam will come out – be sure you have adequate temperature protection.
Serve on a heated platter, with additional lemons and sides of snow peas or sugar snap peas. Wild rice goes well with this dish.
Note: This recipe is a variant of a recipe from Wegman’s Recipe magazine. Additional ingredients have been added and instructions for preparation of whole fish rather than fillets.
Lee Drake is CEO of OS-Cubed, Inc., a Rochester, NY based Microsoft software, website and technical support company. Lee’s over 30 years of technical experience uniquely qualifies him to write on a wide variety of leadership and technical topics. In addition, his passions for gaming, entrepreneurialism, FIRST Robotics, fly fishing, travel and cooking create other opportunities for authorship. Lee’s recipe for Lemongrass Thai Spicy noodles with thai chicken sausage was featured in the Friends of the Marketcookbook. Lee also writes regularly for Entrepreneur Blog – a blog for startup software entrepreneurs.