09 October 2012

Cedar Plank Steelhead Trout with Crispy Sage

My hubs is a grilling machine.  Give him a cut of meat, and he can grill it to perfection.  He has the keenest internal grill sensor that I've ever seen.  Lucky me.

One of our favorite ways to eat salmon is the traditional Northwest preparation style of the cedar plank. Deliciously smokey and flavorful, you get a wonderful dish with the texture and flavor of the fish, but infused with a lovely light cedar flavor.  Yum.  But in our landlocked continental position, it can be tricky to get fresh salmon that is good enough caliber for this preparation.  Therefore, we turned to a similarly textured and flavor fish that is amazing here - Steelhead Trout.  

Ahhh, just look at the beauty that is this fish.  Lovely deep pink, firm texture and beautiful grain.  Seafood is glorious.  

I'm sure that many of you have seen cedar plank fish cuts on the barbecue before.  After all, it's crazy delicious, and crazy delicious things tend to get out.  The special thing in this recipe is the fresh sage.  In the spirit of fall, I'm throwing this into dishes left and right.  I can't get enough of its lovely, spiced, eucalyptus-like flavor.  It pairs wonderfully with pumpkin or butternut squash, and gets wonderful crispy when lightly fried.  However, this was my first experiment using it as a major seasoning on a fatty food like steelhead.  And I am happy to say that it passed with flying colors.  

This recipe is even pups approved.  She could hardly wait for tidbits in her nightly kibble.

When grilled uncovered like this, the trout was not only infused with a light cedar flavor, but also with the pungent spiciness of the sage.  Leaving the fish uncovered also allows the sage to crisp as it cooks, adding a wonderful textural element to the final product.  We at this along side butternut squash risotto, and it was a delightful combination.  All the wonderful flavors of fall together on a single plate.  Now that's a great dinner.

Cedar Plank Steelhead Trout with Crispy Sage (3-4 servings)
  • 1 lb fresh steelhead trout or salmon
  • 1 cedar plant (for grilling...no hardware here!)
  • salt & pepper
  • 3-4 tbs freshly chopped sage
Preheat your grill to medium high.  When hot, pre-grill your cedar plank.  Place on direct heat, close the lid and let grill for about 5 minutes, so all that good smokiness can get a bit of a head start.

After your place the plank on the grill, prep your fish.  Lay skin side down on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Chop your sage and sprinkle evenly over the exposed side of the fish, pressing lightly into the flesh when it is all distributed.  Place the fish on the cedar plank and cook until desired doneness is achieved, about 20 minutes (for medium rare) to 24 minutes (for medium well).  Remove to a plate, cover loosely with tin foil and let the fish rest for about 5 minutes.  Serve along side your favorite fall side dish.  

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