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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: Hot-Smoked Salmon and Planked Salmon Pizza on the Grill

Aug 22, 2013

I hope you enjoy this week's recipes. If you want to enjoy some delicious wild BC pink salmon, come on down to Haddon Park on Sunday from noon till 5.00 p.m. -- find out more here.

Hot-smoked Salmon

Makes 6–8 servings

When good-quality salmon is barbecued over low heat using hickory, alder, or mesquite smoke as a flavoring agent, the end result is outrageously good. This is my favorite way to barbecue salmon. (NOTE: it's also a great way to treat grilled salmon -- just cook it, skin-side down, over indirect heat, and use wood chips in foil or hardwood chunks under the cooking grate to add smoky flavour.)

1 whole fillet wild salmon (also called a side),

about 11/2 to 2 lb | 750 to 1 kg

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp | 15 mL toasted sesame oil

1 tsp | 5 mL dried red pepper flakes

1/4 cup | 50 mL brown sugar

2 lemons, halved

chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

 Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C. Put the salmon, skin side down, on a baking sheet or cutting board. With a pair of needle-nose pliers, pluck the pin bones out of the fillet. Season it with salt and pepper and coat it with sesame oil. Sprinkle the pepper flakes evenly over the fillet and then sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Squeeze the juice of half the lemon over the sugared salmon.

            Let the fish sit for 15 minutes or so, until the sugar is wet and glistening.

            Place the fillet on the cooking grate, put a chunk or two of hardwood on the coals, close the smoker, and barbecue the salmon for 11/2 to 21/2 hours, or until the internal temperature at its thickest part reaches about 140°F | 60°C. Use two wide spatulas to remove the salmon from the smoker. Transfer it to a warmed platter. Garnish it with chopped parsley and the remaining lemon, cut into wedges.

Planked Salmon Pizza

Makes 4 servings 

My pal Reza Mofakham shared this recipe with me. It’s a tasty way to deal with leftover planked salmon. If you don’t feel like making your own pizza dough, you can buy it frozen at most supermarkets.

For the pesto sauce:

2 cups | 500 mL fresh basil

1/4 cup | 50 mL freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 cup | 50 mL toasted pine nuts

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt

1/2 tsp | 2 mL freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup | 50 mL olive oil


For the dough:

1 Tbsp | 15 mL sugar

11/2 cups | 375 mL lukewarm water or beer

2 tsp | 10 mL dry yeast

41/4 cups | 1.1 L all-purpose flour

1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt

2 Tbsp | 25 mL oil


For the toppings:

1/2 lb | 250 g leftover planked salmon, broken into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp | 15 mL capers

1/4 lb | 125 g goat cheese

2 Tbsp | 25 mL sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped


Place the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend them together until they’re smooth, slowly adding the oil in a stream, until you have a smooth, light green sauce. Set the pesto aside.

            If you’re using a breadmaker, prepare the ingredients according to the instructions for making bread dough. If you don’t have a breadmaker, dissolve the sugar in 1⁄2 cup | 125 mL of the water or beer, sprinkle the yeast over top, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Place the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the yeast mixture and the oil, and turn on the machine. Pour the rest of the water or beer through the feed tube of the food processor while it’s running. Blend the mixture just until the dough forms a ball on the side of the bowl.

            Remove the dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl and lightly oil the top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm, draft-free area for about 40 minutes, until it has doubled in size.

            Preheat the grill or oven to 375 to 400°F | 190 to 200°C. Press the dough evenly onto a lightly oiled pizza stone or pizza pan. Spread the pesto evenly on the dough and add the salmon, capers, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake the pizza for 15–20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.