Cedar-Planked Arctic Char Charmoula

We had another adventure in seafood grilling last night. This recipe is also from Fish & Shellfish Grilled and Smoked by Karen Adler and Judith M. Fertig.

This was excellent and a definite repeater!!! I served it with crash hot potatoes and Italian bread.

Jim had the fire a little too hot and the hot side of our plank was charred so we quickly heated the other side and laid the fish on that. I was pretty diligent in checking the fish as I was worried it would overcook. But he got the fire cooled to where it cooked close to the recipe. Cooking time for our fish was only 30 minutes on the indirect heat. Keep checking until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

The original recipe calls for an oak plank and salmon but I had a cedar plank left over from last year's grilling season. The cedar will give the fish a different taste than oak of course. We also used arctic char in place of salmon as arctic char is a better choice for sustainability according to Seafood Watch.

By the way Seafood Watch is an excellent resource for information on fishing and farming techniques as well as which fish are the best choice at the seafood counter. I carry their downloadable pocket guide in my wallet.

Oak Planked Salmon Charmoula
From Fish & Shellfish Grilled and Smoked by Karen Adler and Judith M. Fertig.

1 salmon fillet about 2 1/2 lbs skin on
1/2 cup charmoula (recipe below)

Vegetable Medley

2 tbs fresh lemon juice
8 small ripe Roma tomatoes
2 med cucumbers peeled seeded and diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper seeded and diced
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup snipped chives
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Lemon, orange and lime slices for garnish

Soak plank in water for at least 30 minutes before smoking.

Rinse and pat salmon dry with paper towels and trim the fish to fit the plank if necessary.

Sprinkle the flesh side with charmoula. Combine the vegetable medley ingredients in a small bowl and mix to blend.

Prepare an indirect fire.

When ready to smoke place the plank over direct heat until it begins to smoke and pop 3-4 minutes. Turn the plank over and place the salmon skin side down, on the hot side of the plank. Top the salmon with the vegetables. Grill over direct heat for 4-5 minutes, then move the plank to the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid and let the salmon plank-smoke until it is opaque and begins to flake with a fork at the thickest part, about 45 minutes.

Remove the planked salmon from the grill and serve directly from the plank with the citrus on the side.


Charmoula is a traditional Moroccan herb and spice mixture that is excellent on fish and chicken.

1 large clove of garlic, peeled
2 tbs chopped Italian parsley
2 tbs chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 TBS ground cumin
1 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Process garlic through cayenne in food processor until smooth. Add lemon juice and olive oil and process into a paste