Thursday, January 19, 2012

Potlucks and Plank-Grilled Salmon

The potluck: a great idea…unless you’re a control freak.

I can completely understand the appeal of hosting a potluck. Everyone else brings a dish, leaving you to concentrate on your other host duties. To be sure, there is always a lot to do when hosting a party, and not having to deal with the food can be a huge plus. Unless, I’ll say it again, you’re a control freak. (You may have guessed by now that I am.)

It would be nearly impossible for me to hand over the food reins to my guests. It makes me nervous just thinking about all the ways things could go wrong. What if the dishes didn’t go well together? What if everyone brought the same dish? What if someone slated for a main dish didn’t show? What if there wasn’t enough food? I could go on. There are those types of people out there who are much less high-strung than I am and who would be perfectly at ease if four plates of pigs-in-blankets showed up. But I am decidedly NOT that person. (And I'll admit that I’m a little jealous of those laid-back people.)

The "after" plank - burn, baby burn...

So, although I will probably not be having a potluck anytime soon, I was happy to contribute this spicy barbecued salmon dish to the gojee virtual potluck. Starting on Thursday, January 26, check out other potluck dishes fellow gojee contributors are sharing by going to and entering “gojeepotluck” into the I Crave field.  You can also follow #gojeepotluck on Twitter.

Pineapple-Jalapeno Plank-Grilled Salmon

Serves 2-4

1-2 pounds salmon fillets
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon hot chili oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 jalapeno, chopped
4 leaves pineapple sage* (optional)
1-2 cedar planks

Soak cedar planks in water for 2 hours.

Whisk together pineapple juice, chili oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, and pineapple sage (if using). Marinate salmon in mixture for 1 hour.

Remove salmon from marinade and pour marinade into a small saucepan. Boil rapidly for at least 5 minutes. Continue to boil and reduce if a thicker sauce is desired.

Heat barbecue to about 450 degrees. Prior to placing salmon on planks, season (heat) planks on barbecue according to manufacturer directions.

Place salmon on seasoned planks, skin side down. Close barbecue lid, but watch for flare-ups. (Spray plank with a water bottle if flare-ups occur.)

Cook salmon to desired doneness, 15-20 minutes, depending on size of fillets. (One 12-ounce fillet cooked for about 18 minutes.) Salmon should come off plank easily and skin may remain on the plank.

Serve salmon with sauce spooned over the top.

*Note: Do NOT substitute regular sage for pineapple sage.

Using a cedar plank is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon. It’s low and slow, which leaves the fish tender and moist. The wood imparts a scent and flavor to the fish that you can’t get any other way and when combined with the sweetness and spiciness of this dish, it makes for a fantastic result.


  1. Oh my, that looks so beautiful! I'm not a huge fan of pineapple, but the jalapeno slices look amazing :) Great, great dish, and gorgeous pictures!

  2. This looks so delicious and I love the combination of pineapple and jalapeno. :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. I just have to echo Kiri and Jess: this is a beautiful and delicious looking dish. Gosh, I can almost taste this. Fish and other seafood are my mainstays, and let me tell you, this dish is the stuff of DREAMS for me. It looks perfectly baked, and I just know that those pineapple/jalapeno flavors just played wonderfully with each other. Bravo! This is the best-looking food photo I've seen this week (and I've seen a lot)!



  4. What a beautiful piece of fish! I have always wanted to try "planking" but have not yet..... thank you for your fantastic inspirations!

  5. This looks so yummy!! My daughter loves salmon...I definitely give it a go

  6. What a beautiful dish! I've never tried plank grilling before. Yum!

  7. I do not like potlucks either. I want control over what the food is! This salmon looks stunning - great for the virtual potluck!

  8. What a beautiful creation; you should be real proud of this photo. We love salmon and love to find a new way to serve it. We area now in deep snow and deep freeze so it will be a while before we can use our BBQ.

  9. I love the combination of sweet and spicy! I am trying to cook (and eat) more fish this year so I'm definitely flagging this recipe!

  10. OK crack me up! I feel exactly the same way...and for all the SAME reasons you mentioned! LOL! This salmon is the presentation! Salmon is one of my favorite things on earth!

  11. That looks amazing. We are planning on doing planked salmon tonight on our Big Green Egg and were looking for new ways to do it. We already decided to go with a pesto sauce on it, but I'm going to save your idea for another time. Sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. Awww, you're an awesome hostess and a perfectionist too!:) I'd love to go to your potlucks, as I could see how amazing your food are and almost to perfection;)
    I could understand those kind of stress too; I am a perfectionist myself and sometimes, a worry wart too:p Like you, I do envy people who do not seem to care at all and just let things take its own course ;)

  13. I totally agree - cedar planked salmon is the best! My husband makes a mean planked salmon. I'm passing this recipe on to him because I know we both would LOVE it! We crave the sweet and spicy. Fabulous recipe and pictures! I had to smile while reading about the stress you would encounter if you gave a potluck. I totally understand because I have a friend just like that. When I gave a potluck once, she brought up all of those issues. It was MY potluck, but SHE was freaking out! :) Everything turned out fine.

  14. Oh, I adore cedar planked salmon, too...and this looks like a fabulous recipe, Karen~

  15. Beautiful and delicious! Love the consistency and flavors in there! A healthy dish to start the day with the whole family. Thank you dear.

  16. Firstly, that salmon looks not only delicious, but exceptionally beautiful. I love the way that the jalapenos stay imprinted on the fish. Secondly... I'm also a control freak. I tried to have a potluck Thanksgiving, but I ended up just making most everything myself anyway. We are who we are :)