Cedar Plank Fish

I keep thinking spring is right around the corner … and then we get a foot of snow. I live in Colorado, where a foot of snow is followed by a day that’s 70 degrees and sunny. And then more snow. PSYCH! I don’t know what’s going on this spring, but I decided that I’m not waiting for the weather to catch up with my grilling urges. I went outside in a near blizzard and turned on the grill to make a beautiful piece of rock fish that I bought at the market (if the photos are blurry, it’s because I was shivering my fanny off).

Now, rock fish is not on the approved foods list, but many, many other types of fish are. Try this dish with grouper, mahi mahi or snapper. In fact, I would like to challenge everyone to use this week’s recipe as a reason to try a type of fish that you have never had before. Using a cedar plank on the grill imparts a wonderful, smoky flavor to your fish. Even my daughter, who will typically avoid fish at all costs, will eat it when prepared this way. The relish makes an easy and flavorful topping as well, making this dish delicious with a side of brown rice studded with chopped green onion and basil leaves.

So, before I head back outside to conduct a quality control inspection on my husband’s shoveling…well, not completely outside, I just sort of stand at the window…I will dream of summer entertaining and delicious cedar plank fish on the grill for company. Sigh.


  • 1 untreated red cedar grilling plank
  • 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 plum tomato
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 5 green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped (plus additional for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 6-oz. fish fillets

Fill a pan (large enough to hold the cedar plank) with water. Add cedar plank and weigh down with a can or glass to keep submerged in the water. Soak for 24 hours or more.

Preheat grill to highest heat. Rub tomato and bell pepper with 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil. Spray green onions with cooking spray. Place tomato, pepper and onions directly on grill and cook until lightly charred and blistered–about 2 minutes for onions, 4 minutes for tomato and 8-10 minutes for pepper. Turn tomato and pepper with tongs to char all over. Remove vegetables to a cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle. Do not turn off grill.

Remove peel from tomato and pepper. Chop and add to medium bowl. Chop green onions and add to same bowl. Add minced garlic, basil, rice vinegar and remaining olive oil. Add half of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Sprinkle fish with remaining salt and pepper to taste. Remove plank from water and arrange fish on plank. Top fish fillets with tomato mixture, pressing to adhere. Place plank with fish on grill, cover, and cook until fish is opaque in the center, about 15-20 minutes depending on your fish.

Note that your plank will burn and smoke, and the smoke from the plank is what flavors the fish, so this is OK. However, if the plank starts to flare up, you can spritz it with water to keep it from burning.

Transfer fish to plates and top with additional fresh minced basil, if desired.

Makes 2 servings