Best. Bleu Cheese Dressing. Ever.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm a bleu cheese snob. There, I said it. I love it. I wish I could say I love it all, but I don't. I'm very, very picky actually about my bleu cheese. It has to have the perfect balance of creamy to crumbly, tangy to sweet, veiny to white. In short, it needs to be perfect. And that perfection is Roquefort bleu cheese.
It's a sheep's milk bleu. It's French. It's old (hello mentioning in literature as far back as 70 AD!!) and it's awesome. It's aged in a cave whereby the French swear gives it that perfect balance and slight acidity. I don't care if it's aged in a wheat field - it's an amazing perfect cheese.
Naturally, my all-time favorite salad dressing then is bleu cheese dressing. And I hate (and I do mean hate here) store-bought bleu cheese dressings. They taste papery to me for some reason. And fake. So I decided to make my own a few days ago to go with my gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market!
And so behold, the kind of bleu cheese dressings, the best you've ever had and ever will have. And I do gaurantee this. Notice there are no pictures of my dish was that good. We sort of ate it before we could take pictures.
And so there you have it.
Best Bleu Cheese Dressing with Roquefort
about 1/4 cup good quality mayo (Best or Hellman's)
about 1/4 cup sour cream (not low fat please)
1 Tbsp or a good splash of cold heavy cream
about 2.5 Tbsp of Roquefort cheese plus extra
small pinch of kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until cheese is chopped up and well combined. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and vinegar to taste. Place in a bowl and add some more bleu cheese crumbles if desired. Serve immediately or wrap and keep cold until ready to serve.
*You can really manipulate the proportions here to suite your taste level. If you like a stronger flavor of bleu cheese then add more; if you like just a hint of it then add less to the puree and eliminate the chunks at the end. The white balsamic vinegar is perfect because it's slightly sweet which really brings out the flavor in the salty bleu, while complimenting it and not overpowering it. Using white instead of regular balsamic also lets you preserve the characteristic white color. If you can't find white balsamic then you can use a small splash of white distilled vinegar or lemon juice and a pinch of granulated sugar.
Serving suggestion: sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh crusty French bread

Summer Drink: Royal Sangria

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I call it Royal Sangria because of the deep purple color, purple being of course the color of royalty. Royal, plain sangria, or delicious...whatever you want to call it, it's a classic drink and one the most refreshing quick cocktails you can whip up in seconds. It's always a crowd-pleaser at parties, and by adding the fruit makes an otherwise great wine so special and fun.
Sangria is a wine punch served in Spain. It can be done with red, white, or rose wine that is infused with fruits, sometimes spice, another fruit-based liquor and some sort of sweetener. The options are endless for sangria - you can use virtually any fruit combination and sweetener (honey, sugar, herb-infused simple syrups, even fruit nectar). You can also make it as strong as you like - for milder alcohol just leave it with wine alone; stiffer concoctions can include other spirits in the combination as well. But whatever combination you do, it must be served cold.
A drink popular among the bars, tavernas and restaurants throughout the summer in Spain and Portugal, it's made an imprint here in the States as well. Although I think not enough. I'll take a good sangria over plain wine in summer any day. And with it being so easy to make, why not?
There are, however, a couple of rules you must obey:
1. Don't get cheap with your wine! You may rationalize "well, all this shit's going in there so I can get a cheap $5 bottle and it'll be fine." WRONG! No matter how much you put in there, it's still going to taste like a cheap $5 wine. Now it'll taste like a cheap $5 sangria. Please spend at least $10 on a bottle of white or red and look at it as enhancing the natural flavors.
2. Choose seasonal fruits that won't disintegrate! We all love fruity fruits. However, these fruits are going to stay a while in this punch. You don't want them to completely evaporate. You want their flavor to infuse the wine, while the wine infuses them! Part of the fun of drinking a sangria is eating the fruit too. So choose carefully. Although you want ripe fruit, stay way from completely soft and overly ripe fruit. Berries, citrus, grapes, apples, cherries, and stone fruits yield themselves nicely for sangria.
3. Always serve cold! Don't serve it warm, even if you're using red wine. You want that crisp, cold flavor. And don't put the ice cubes in the pitcher unless many people are planning to serve themselves immediately. Rather, for a party I'll put the pitcher out and then invite guests to add ice cubes to their glass, then pour the sangria over. This enables the sangria to not be watered down, so every time your guests help themselves it tastes fresh.
Now that you know the basics, let's get down to the recipe for...
Royal Sangria
1 bottle Spanish red (recommended something from the Rioja region)
1/8 cup superfine granulated sugar
1/2 cup orange liquor (triple sec)
1 orange, sliced
1 apple, sliced
2-3 cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Using a wooden spoon or glass stirring stick, gently press the fruit so they can start to release their juices. Let stand for at least an hour so spices and fruit can infuse. Serve in iced glasses with ice cubes. Can be made up to 8 hours in advance.

Week Night Yum Yum: Easy Eggplant Parmesana

It's summer time!!!! And that means the best tomatoes, basil and eggplant you'll get the entire year. And those ingredients immediately sends me into Eggplant Parmesana mode.

The traditional eggplant parmesana involves a laborious basic breading system -- flour, egg, bread crumbs, then fry it up -- which with two kids, I frankly don't have the time, space and patience to do. I've found you can get the same delicious taste without the hassle and calories of the whole breading step by just frying up the eggplant dusted in a little bit of seasoned flour. That's it. Then top with marinara sauce (homemade or store bought), low-fat cheese and fresh basil. It's easy to make, relatively healthy, and best part is you can get your kids to eat eggplant!

Easy Eggplant Parmesana
1 medium eggplant
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
about 2 cups of marinara sauce
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
about 3/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top and end off of the eggplant. Slice it into 1/2 inch thick rounds. You should end up with around 12 "disks." Set aside.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes if using) in a shallow dish. Set aside.

Take the largest fry pan you have (or two medium-sized ones) and place a good amount of olive oil in the bottom. You want enough to cover in a layer the whole bottom of the pan. Heat on high heat until very hot. Take each eggplant round and coat it in the flour mixture, dust off any excess. Once the oil if very hot, carefully slice the eggplant into the oil and cook until golden browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. You will probably have to do this in batches, so make sure you discard any oil from the prior batch as the flour will brown it and give it a bitter taste. Always fry in new oil.

While the eggplant is frying, place about 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a lasagna dish. Smooth it out with a spatula, creating an even layer. As the eggplant gets fried, layer them in the lasagna dish. It's ok if they overlap. It should look like this:

Top the fried eggplant with the rest of the marinara. You don't need to cover every inch of the eggplant. The point is you have sauce on the bottom and sauce on the top to help keep the eggplant moist while it cooks in the oven. Then top with the chopped basil, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted completely.

Let stand for 3 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve hot!
My Notes:
For an even healthier version you can grill your eggplant. Cut the eggplant thinner (about 1/4 inch thick) and brush with olive oil. Give a quick grill and layer with sauce and cheese as directed above.
If you want a more substantial dish for a main course, you can add a layer of cooked Italian sausage on top of the eggplant. Either sliced up thinly or out of the casing is fine.
This is very make-ahead friendly. You can make it the day before even and cover and bake off when ready. You can even freeze it! Prepare everything and instead of baking it, let it cool to room temperature. Cover very well with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze. Just add another 15 minutes or so to your cooking time if using a frozen version.

My Favorite Taste-Testers

Monday, July 12, 2010

Here are the faces and palates behind "Kid Tested, Toddler Approved."

Miss Ecaterina (but we call her Cati) who's 3 years old:

...and her little brother Trajan (we call him T-bone) who's 21 months old:

They like mommy's food:

Their favorite foods I make?
For Cati it would have to be a tie between my spaghetti and marinara and my chicken soup from scratch. For Trajan it's definitely a tie between my spaghetti with meatballs and my mashed potatoes. I've never seen a 21 month old consume that much mashed potatoes.

Summer Sunday Dinner: Roasted Chicken with Herbes de Provence and Mesclun with Cherries, Roasted Onions and Pine Nuts

Friday, July 9, 2010

Andrew and I both come from a family tradition where everyone gets together on Sundays for a big feast. Usually it's after everyone goes to church, then gathers at the matriarch's home for an early and elaborate Sunday dinner. Wine is flowing, the house is permeating with cooking goodness, and it's a chance for everyone to retell their adventures from the weekend and rest up before the work week begins.

I often make roasted chicken not just because it's easy, but because it's so comforting. It's probably one of my All Time Favorite things to make and eat. When done right, there is nothing better. My usual roasted chicken involves a special French herb blend called herbs de provence - a collection of dried rosemary, thyme, lavender, fennel, and various other herbs found in abundance throughout southern France. I also add fresh lemon, herbs and garlic inside the chicken so it can smell heavenly as well as be infused with the flavors.

Since moving to Seattle we've also been privy to some seriously good cherries. Although I love them just by themselves in a pretty glass bowl on a warm summer afternoon, I'm also loving them as sweet additions to salads. They're easy to pit so don't be discouraged. Pairing them with tender mesclun greens, a simple white balsamic vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts makes for a simple, colorful and seasonal salad that will leave your guests feeling so special.

This is a perfect meal for that Sunday get-together. And don't forget the wine!

Roasted Chicken with Herbs de Provence
1 4-5 pound chicken, insides removed and discarded
course sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2-3 Tbsp herbs de provence*
extra virgin olive oil
1 very large (or 2 smaller) white onions
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1 head garlic, cut in half lengthwise
4-6 fresh herbs sprigs (thyme, rosemary, sage...whatever you have on hand)

Special Equipment: roasting pan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take chicken and wash thoroughly, inside and out. Using paper towels, pat very dry especially in areas like under the wings and joints. Set aside.

Peel the onion and cut into very large chunks, about 1.5 inches thick. Toss in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the onion on a single layer in the roasting pan.

Brush the chicken with some olive oil. A basting brush works best for this. Season the chicken liberally with the salt and pepper, going heavier on the seasoning with the thicker on the breast side. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper as well. Next, lightly sprinkle the herbs de provence on the chicken, seasoning all sides (no need to season inside the cavity this time). Using your fingers, lightly press the herbs into the chicken. Don't worry if some fall off and onto the roasting pan; they will season the onions too. Place the chicken breast-side up on top of the bed of onions. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and fresh herbs, using a piece of lemon as a "door" to shut the cavity hole and enabling the garlic and herbs to steam inside. Place the chicken uncovered in oven.

Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. This will enable the chicken to achieve a nice golden brown color right away and seal in the juices. Without opening the oven door, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting another 45 min - hour and half or until chicken is golden brown and when you pierce it the juices run clear.**

About halfway through the cooking process you'll want to move the onion pieces around so they don't burn on one side. No need to remove the entire chicken - just reposition the onion pieces a little and turn them over if you see them starting to burn.

Let chicken stand 5 minutes before cutting so juices can redistribute. Remove the onions and serve with the chicken or add to the salad.

Mesclun with Cherries, Roasted Onions and Pine Nuts
1 package mesclun
1 cup cherries, stems removed and pitted
1 portion roasted onions (from roasted chicken recipe)
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp berry jam
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
goat cheese (optional)

Place the mesclun greens in a large bowl. Add cherries and onions (let the onions cool the 5 minutes while the chicken is resting before adding them to the greens).

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and jam. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Whisk vigorously until everything is combined and vinaigrette is emulsified (thickened). Drizzle on the salad and gently toss. Top with pine nuts and dollops of goat cheese if using. Serve immediately.

* You can finde herbs de provence at most grocery stores now. If you can't, then Williams-Sonoma carries a great blend. You can order it online here. If you still have trouble, you can make your own blend. Try equal parts of (all dried):
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • savory
  • lavender
  • fennel seeds
  • basil

It is of note that the original "herbes de provence" included only rosemary, thyme and savory and American manufacturers added the lavender, fennel and basil. Either way you want to do it, the combinations are wonderful and yield themselves nicely with chicken.

**When white meat is raw, the juices are red. When it's fully cooked, the juices are clear. It won't be clear like water, but you will see it's clear and not tinged with red or pink color. Cut into the thigh and main body area to check. You don't want to pierce the breast because then you'll compromise keeping it juicey. Conversely, you can insert a meat thermometer as well to check the doneness.

My Notes:
Yes the herbs de provence must be dried. When you're roasting and exposing the herbs to direct open heat, you need them to be dried or else they will burn. Fresh herbs have too much water in them and thus will crisp up and blacken within 30 minutes, leaving a bitter taste. It's ok to put fresh herbs inside the cavity because they are insulated by the body of the chicken.

Cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken. Standard sizes are 4-5 pounds found at the markets, but there is a movement now to use actually smaller 2 pound chickens. This will obviously feed less people so you might have to do 2 chickens if you use the 2 pounders.

I like using a fresh goat cheese for the salad. It's light, creamy, and offers a tangy bite that pairs perfectly with the sweet cherries and bright herbs and lemon of the chicken. My favorite goat is Montrachet.

Kid Tested, Toddler Approved: Pizza 1-2-3!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Seriously, this cannot get any easier. Whenever my husband works late on a Friday night, I make a point to really up the fun for the kids. So we usually do a family movie night with homemade pizza and cupcakes. Since it's Friday and I'm pretty wiped out by then, I take lots of shortcuts to put together a meal that looks like it took all day. And the best part? It's super kid-friendly and your kids, no matter what age, will have a blast making all of it with you.
For the cupcakes I simply buy a box mix of their favorite and make it according to package directions. If the kids are old enough, they can help you stir and crack eggs to involved them in the process and teach them a little too about baking. Then I'll scoop out the batter myself and we'll bake them off. I'll frost them and let the kids put on sprinkles. It makes a mess but they have a blast doing it.
Then for the pizza, just follow this simple recipe. I let the kids choose and add their toppings. Add some popcorn and drinks and it's a fun (and healthier!) night with their favorite video.
Veggie Pizza with Chicken Sausage
1 package store-bought pizza dough (plain or whole-wheat)
your favorite marinara sauce
1 fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
1 cup leftover cooked broccoli
2-3 chicken sausages, cut into very small bites and cooked
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp frsh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll or stretch out each piece into a disk about 1/4 inch thick. Use some flour to help you if the dough is sticky. Place disks on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Spoon out about 1-2 tablespoons of marinara sauce on top; less if you like it drier, more if you like it saucier. Using the back of your spoon, spread it out evenly leaving a 1 inch border around. Top with some sausage, broccoli, cheese and basil, and season with some salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and crust is just turning golden brown. Let stand 2 minutes before cutting and serving.

My Notes:
Obviously the topping options are endless. Chicken sausage is a healthier alternative for kids (and adults!) for fattier Italian sausage or spicy pepperoni. If you like those, then by all means go for it. My kids love broccoli so I add some left over from the night before or some broccolini I quick-blanch in some water. You can also add asparagus, bell peppers, olives, onions...whatever toppings you and your kids love.
You don't have to make your own marinara sauce just for this. Although I do, I also always have a back-up jar or two in my pantry for quick meals or emergency situations. I love Emeril's marinara, Batali's marinara, Trader Joe's organic marinara, and Gia's from Whole Foods. But you can of course use any kind you like! If you like it spicier, try a jar of arrabiata sauce!
Pizzas were invented as a way to use up leftover ingredients from main dishes and pastas from during the week. Why not apply the same logic today? I always have some pizza dough on hand, or make it quickly in a food processor. Have leftover roasted chicken? Cut it up and add some pesto sauce or marinara and top with cheese. Left over veggies? Same thing. It's a great way to use up leftovers and psychologically you can get the kids to eat the veggies and "good stuff" since they're technically eating a treat.

Everything You Wanted To Know (or Not) About: Pine Nuts

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The pine nut.

Yes it actually comes from pine trees. The stone pine, to be exact. The pine nuts you'll find at your grocery store and the kernals in the harder and larger shells that can be found right off of the pine cone! Yes, you can theoretically go into a forest, find a sone pine tree, and harvest and eat the nuts. In fact, our ancestors have been doing that for thousands of years. 6000 years to be exact.

Pine nuts have a distinct, sweet and woodsy taste. They have good bite to them, making them substantial despite their small size. Because of that effect they are popular in salads and desserts. A classic European pairing is almond or marzipan cookie topped with pine nuts. And of course, we have the classic pesto which is comprised of toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil. They are a classic ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, Middle Eastern and even Asian.

Harvesting the tiny nut is not as complicated as one would think. Pine cones are taken and placed in large burlap bags and left out in the sun for about 20 days to dry out. Then you beat the shit out of the bag until the cone is pulverized and the seeds remain. Then you sift through, removing the seeds quite easily. Conversely, you can just hike around a forest and pick them up off the ground.

Pine nuts are edible raw and taste fine unlike their other nut cousins the almond, peanut, and walnut that benefit greatly from a little roasting before consuming. However, they develop a nice crunchy texture from a little pan-roasting (picture above). Just a couple of minutes - they burn quite easily as they're full of oil.

Classic combinations for pine nuts include:
  • Moroccan spices, cous-cous, currants or raisins
  • basil, parmesan, garlic, olive oil
  • almond or marizpan based cookie dough
  • ricotta cheese, honey
  • spinach, feta cheese, lemon
  • apricot, honey
  • goat cheese
  • persimmon, ginger, cinnamon
  • basil, parsley, cilantro, mint
  • semi-sweet chocolate, sea salt

You can toss them in rice, cous-cous, pasta, or salads. Top them on cookies or desserts. Grind them with an herb like mint or cilantro and coat meat with them (pork and lamb work exceptionally well) for an amazing crust.

Personally, I love them most in salads and pastas. I often toss a small handful on top especially when I'm working with a bitter green like escarole or kale. The sweetness of the pine nut balances out the bitterness of those greens so nicely.

Recently I whipped up a quick batch of spaghetti with black kale, cherry tomatoes, sweet onion and of course, pine nuts:

It is just this simple.
Spaghetti with Black Kale, Cherry Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts
1/2 lb spaghetti
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch black kale (or green kale), leaves removed from stems
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
freshly grated Romano cheese
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. To make the sauce, heat some olive oil in a large saute pan (about 1/4 cup). Saute the onion on medium flame until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, kale and tomatoes and mix to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Cook until kale is wilted about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the spaghetti and add it directly into the kale mixture, tossing with tongs to coat. Add the pine nuts and a good sprinkling of romano cheese and serve.

Fried Pasta: The Key To Hung Over Happiness

It happens to all of us. Leftover pasta. It's too dry to do anything with the next day, unless of course you're like my husband who loves leftover pasta so you just give it all to him. After a successful spaghetti dinner the night before, I was left with a whole heap of extra spaghetti and didn't want to do the same marinara sauce or melted butter. I wanted something different, something special.

So I picked up my Molto Italiano cookbook and found exactly what I was looking for: a recipe for day-old pasta. Mario Batali makes even dry, day-old pasta into something special with this super easy and fun fried pasta pancake recipe. His calls for tagliatelle pasta (a bit thicker than spaghetti), but I used the thinner pasta and it worked out just fine. Probably the best part is the sprinkling of granulated sugar. Brought me back to my childhood when my grandma would make a similar treat with pasta and feta cheese with a sprinkling of sugar. Simple enough to make after a night of drinking, quick enough to make for the kids, this is a great recipe to have in your kitchen for that leftover spaghetti!

Spaghetti Pancakes
2 servings leftover spaghetti (tossed in sauce or plain)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sugar (optional)

Place the spaghetti in a large bowl, add the eggs, bread crumbs, and parmigiano, and mix in by hand or with a wooden spoon. Take small handfuls of the pasta mixture and form it into lightly compressed nests about 4 inches in diameter (about the size of a small fry pan). Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Carefully place the nests in the hot oil and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown and the edges are crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the sugar if desired and serve immediately.

My Notes:
You can use any kind of cooked pasta for this recipe, but a longer noodle like spaghetti, tagliatelle, even cappelini will work best to create the "nests" to hold the pancake form. Smaller pasta shapes like rotini or manicotti will not hold together and break in the oil.

I made two larger nests out of this recipe; one sweet and one savory. For the sweet one I simply topped with granulated sugar as Batali recommended, and for the savory I added some fresh thyme leaves and dusted with more grated parmesan cheese.

See the finished product:

The key to these pancakes is to have a very hot pan and leave the pasta cakes on each side to really brown up. Don't flip them too often. You should flip it once and then cook the other side and remove. A good, sturdy spatula will be invaluable for this recipe too!

Pacific Northwest Style Salmon

Friday, July 2, 2010

I love salmon. It's funny because I had never had it until I met Andrew and had it on our first date. Salmon and oysters. Both first times. I digress...

Since moving up to Seattle I've been privy to some seriously FOB salmon (fresh off the boat). It's a great fish, ready-available, difficult to screw up, and can take on a lot of different flavor profiles. I've done it Asian-style with a fabulous miso glaze (one of my favorite ways), and with a garlic-panko crust (also delicious), but honestly my favorite way is to prepare it with a simple rub.

A pantry staple in my house is Potlatch seasoning.

It's a combination of herbs, including paprika, chile powder, salt, oregano, red pepper and dried basil among others. It incorporates most of the herbs used by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest for their potlatchs, or "feasts." They would roast whole sides of salmon seasoned with this spice blend, vertically, over an open fire. The combination of herbs are wonderful on other meats as well, but it truly is amazing on a fresh piece of salmon.
I add a trick I learned from my friend Carol recently, a Seattle native, on how to prepare an authentic Washington-style salmon. Just a couple of small pinches of brown sugar to balance out the spices in the potlatch is just wonderful. To bring it up even further on the flavor profile, try roasting your salmon on a cedar plank for an amazing smell and smoky taste. But if you don't have the cedar, you can make this just as easily without it in your oven or on your grill.
Pacific Northwest Style Grilled Salmon
1 large salmon side, skin on
potlatch seasoning
1 Tbsp brown sugar
freshly ground black pepper
super-fine sea salt (or kosher)
cedar planks (optional)
If using cedar planks, submerge in water for at least 3 hours or overnight to prevent burning.
Wash and pat very dry your salmon fillet. Cut the fillet in smaller portions to fit your cedar planks if using; if not, leave whole. Season with the potlatch, brown sugar, pepper and salt to taste, going a little heavier on the thicker side of the salmon. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
Preheat grill (or oven to 350 degrees). Place salmon on cedar planks and place directly on bbq grill. Conversely, if baking, just place salmon on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet large enough to accommodate your salmon. Grill (or bake) until salmon is cooked through, 20-30 minutes. If using a cedar plank note cooking time will take longer; if not cooking time will be on the shorter end since the salmon is getting direct heat. If baking, usually 20-25 minutes is good depending on the thickness of your salmon.
Let stand 2 minutes before serving.