Grilling fish on a cedar plank has got to be the most brilliant thing, but make that fish steelhead trout coated with potlatch seasoning and you're really on to something. Last night's dinner was absolutely incredibly perfect and that's from someone who rarely admits that perfection exists.
Steelhead is a rainbow trout that can't decide if it prefers salt water or freshwater so usually returns to freshwater to spawn after a 2 or 3 year frolic in the ocean. It's enough like salmon that it could be salmon, honestly and we love it for its mild flavor and moist tender flakey flesh, never mind the lack of bones. Slapped on a cedar plank that soaks in water for a minimum of 12 hours and grilled, it is about as good as it gets, especially flavored with potlatch seasoning.
Potlatch seasoning is a spice rub named in honor of the ceremonial feast held by what we Canadians call the First Nation tribes of the Pacific Northwest who I might add have been cooking on cedar and alder planks for centuries. This particular seasoning is a combination of salt, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, celery salt, garlic and onion powders as well as oregano. You may think it's going to be incredibly spicy, but trust me it isn't. What it is though is a very well balanced blend of seasonings that is enhanced by the flavor of the cedar planks and smoke and the fish of course.
We had our plank grilled steelhead along with assorted vegetables (mini potatoes, cauliflower, baby carrots, green and yellow beans) in a light creamy dill sauce. I thought it was quite honestly our best effort of the week so far.
Incidentally, if you're unable to find steelhead, just use a nice salmon fillet. Also, be sure to soak your cedar planks in water for a minimum 12 hours before putting them on the grill, and if you're using a little gas grill like the one we have with a heat source really close to the grate, be sure to use the indirect method or your planks will go up in flames.
Cedar Plank Grilled Steelhead with Potlatch Seasoning (adapted from Foodnetwork.com)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Combine ingredients together in a small jar and seal tightly.
1 pound steelhead or salmon fillet, skin on
Soak cedar planks for a minimum 12 hours in water before using. Check fish for bones and remove as required. Sprinkle steelhead liberally with potlatch spice mixture and refrigerate for a minimum 1 hour before grilling. To cook – place cedar plank on grill, close lid and heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Place seasoned steelhead on plank, skin side down. Cover and cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until cooked as desired. Makes 4 servings.
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