“Honey, I just heard something explode out there in your BBQ”.
“That’s ok dear. I’m just heating up my plank. I have a special treat for you tonight. It’s a 10,000 year old technique for cooking fish.”
“Really? A 10,000 year old recipe? Think maybe it could wait another 6 months until your Medicare kicks in?”
Before we had pots and pans people cooked in a lot of different ways. Planking was one of the best. Because the wood plank is soaked in water, the fish is partially steamed, partially smoked, partially baked and completely immersed in flavor.
Here is how it’s done:
First thing you need to do is soak your plank in water. I put mine in a tub of water with a big rock to hold it down. I leave it in there over night. (A lot of people will tell you to just soak it for 3 or 4 hours. Trust me, it needs a good overnight soaking. The steam from your plank is an essential part of the cooking process. Also, your plank will last a lot longer if it doesn’t burn up while cooking your fish.)
Next, prep the plank for cooking. If grilling outside, put it on a rack above the coals in your BBQ, close the lid and let it cook for 15 minutes. If you are cooking indoors, bake it in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. (By the way, when the steam expands the plank might make a loud pop. I’ve never seen one actually explode……..yet.)
Now that your plank is ready, brush some olive oil over the top surface of it and put on the fish skin side down. Be careful, that board is really hot! Return to the heat until the fish looks done, probably about 15 minutes. Poke it with a fork to see if it looks flaky.
Here’s how to make Charlevoix-style planked whitefish:
Prepare plank as described above.
Brush fillets with olive oil and season to taste with sea salt, powdered garlic, white pepper and paprika. Place skin side down on heated cedar plank.
Spoon cooked garlic mashed potatoes around the edges.
Put the plank on the second rack of the BBQ grill or under the broiler and cook until done.
Serve right on the plank. That’s all there is to it. (You thought this was going to be really tricky, didn’t you?)
The flavor is remarkable, your presentation will be unique, and you never need to tell your guests how easy this 10,000 year old cooking technique really is.
Need a fish plank? Just click on the above tab “Caveman Fish Planks” and I’ll make you one.