Cedar-Planked Salmon with Pasta in Lemon-Cream Chardonnay Sauce

We barbeque year-round, so now that the evenings are getting a bit chillier, we just plan on something a little more substantial yet still great for warmish-weather grilling! This recipe looks like it has a million ingredients and will take a lot of time, but really it’s pretty simple, once you see how it’s broken down. My girlfriend in Ottawa, who has two “tweens”, a husband and a career and doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, found this straightforward and “amazing” (love ya, Sher!). (Serves 4)

A bit in advance:
1 cedar plank, soaked (ideally) for approximately 24 hours

Barely in advance:
½ bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ container cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

Only takes a minute:
1 tbsp fig-infused balsamic vinegar (or any other balsamic)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
½ tsp freshly grated pepper

Getting closer:
1 piece salmon filet, about 750 g
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
Salt & freshly grated pepper, to taste

The countdown is on:
4 tbsp butter
2 large shallots, minced
1 lemon, grated zest only
1 cup (250 ml) white wine, preferably chardonnay
2 cups (500 ml) half and half cream
Salt & freshly grated pepper, to taste
4 tbsp sage, torn into small pieces

Salivating yet?
1 package fresh linguine or fettuccine, 600-750 g
1 tbsp (or so) salt, or to taste
4 thyme sprigs

In a steamer, cook the asparagus half-way (6-7 minutes). Soak immediately in cold water to stop the cooking process (very important!), then drain. Quarter the tomatoes. Reserve both for the sauce. You may do this well in advance, if you like (same day, though).

Combine the next five ingredients and shake or stir to thicken. Heat the barbeque to high. Oil, salt and pepper the salmon filet and place skin-side down on the cedar plank. Score the salmon with a sharp knife. Cook for 10 minutes, basting with the glaze two or three times. Remove from the grill and cover with foil. This can be done as far in advance as the previous day….

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened (2-3 minutes). Add the lemon zest and wine, turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add the cream and stir frequently, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (i.e., “saucy” consistency). Add the salt, pepper and sage and give it a taste. Turn heat to low and add the asparagus and tomatoes.

In the meantime, bring a very large pot of water to a boil. Add salt (to flavour the pasta – very important!!). Cook pasta according to package directions – usually about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the cream sauce and toss together.

To serve, place the pasta on/into plates/bowls. Cut the salmon into 4 pieces and place on top of the pasta. Garnish with the thyme.

Pick your salmon filet first, then choose your plank (available at your grocer) to fit. If your sink’s not big enough for your plank, use a cookie sheet and just soak one half at a time. Leave it on the counter and flip half-way through however much time you’ve budgeted.

If you’re not inclined to make your own balsamic glaze (i.e., “Only takes a minute”), you can always buy something commercial, or even use BBQ sauce.

Fresh pasta really does make a difference. If you haven’t tried it before, do!!

The salmon’s also a great match with our Lemon and Fennel Risotto!

A nicely oaked Chardonnay is definitely the way to go!


~ One of Seven


  1. mmmm….gonna have to try this. sounds like the seafood equivalent to my beef tenderloin with asparagus.

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