Laugh, Social Sundays

Social Sundays – Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon, Perfect Potato Salad, and Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Crisp!

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Many of us have been social all weekend long, but if you haven’t had a chance to get in a little cooking time – it’s Social Sunday.  Our menu today is deliciously simple, because we want to spend a little time outdoors to enjoy the day and our guests.  Our first step is to soak our plank and marinate our Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon, then prepare our Perfect Potato Salad and Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Crisp.

We start with one of my favorite fish recipes – Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon.  Plank cooking has been around a while, but this marinade makes this recipe super delightful — I’m sure you’ll love it.

Salmon is one of the easiest fish to cook because of its hearty texture you can turn it more easily on the grill and it absorbs marinade or herbs nicely. I love to grill it on a cedar plank for a nice smoky flavor — you can find wood planks at most hardware or grocery stores.

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons, grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

cedar plank, at hardware or grocery stores or online

(Serves 4-6)

To Prepare:

1.  Submerge cedar plank a large casserole dish or sheet pan filled with water.  You may need to put a heavy glass on top, so it doesn’t float. Leave the board to soak, for at least 1 hour or until ready to use for grilling.

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2.  In a small square dish, add soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. Add the ginger, hot sauce, brown sugar and garlic to the soy sauce mixture, whisk the mixture together to combine.  Coarsely chop the cilantro and add it to the soy mixture.

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3.  Dip the salmon in the marinade on both sides, then place it skin side up in the marinade.  Cover the fish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.  Heat your gas or charcoal grill to medium/high or 400 degrees, leaving one area with no direct heat (indirect method of grilling).  Heat two of the three burners, leaving one off or very low.  Take the salmon out of the marinade and place it on the soaked cedar plank.

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4.  Place the plank on the unheated section of the grill.  Close the lid to grill the salmon for 20-25 minutes or until salmon has dark edges and a deep golden color.  Remove the plank with oven mitts from the grill and place on a large platter to cool slightly, 5 minutes.  Slice and serve the salmon with grilled veggies or other side dishes.  Enjoy!

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Perfect Potato Salad

Potato Salad is an American classic, and has been served at barbecues and picnics since before my time.   I call this recipe, Perfect Potato Salad because I think it has the perfect balance of creamy and savory with a hint of sweetness. I use Yukon Gold Potatoes for a moist texture and I just love the beautiful butter colored flesh.

My secret ingredient in my potato salad is capers.  Capers are little vinegar bites of heaven, that add just a hint of brininess to our decadent taste. Also, I like to add a splash of the brine for a slight kick of additional flavor.

Ingredients

5 pounds of Yukon Gold Potatoes, organic preferably

5 large eggs

3 stalks celery

2 scallions

2 sprigs fresh dill

1/3 cup capers + 2 tablespoons brine

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1/3 cup Greek Yogurt, plain

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey, organic preferably

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

(Serves 10)

To Prepare:

1.  In a large pot add cold water and potatoes, boil until fork tender (about 20 minutes).  In another small saucepan, add eggs and cold water.  Heat until the water is boiling, turn off heat and cover with a lid. Cook eggs for 12 minutes, drain water from both the potatoes and eggs.

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2.  Peel the potatoes and cut them up into 1/2 inch chunks — place them in a large bowl.  Thinly slice the celery and scallions, and add them in the bowl.  Mince the dill finely, add it to the bowl.  Pour the capers into your hand, over the bowl, allowing a little brine to run through your fingers. The extra brine adds a nice saltiness to the mixture.  Peel and rough chop the eggs, and add them to the bowl.

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3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon, agave and rice vinegar.  Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and whisk again until combined.

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4.  Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and toss with a spoon until combined.  I love Perfect Potato Salad slightly warm, but it is delicious cold too.  Enjoy!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Crisp

Rhubarb, found during the months of Spring, creates delicious pies and desserts because of its tart taste. Rhubarb is often paired with berries, to create a nice balance of flavor and the combination of rhubarb and strawberries is very popular.  You often see strawberry rhubarb pies, cobblers and crisps, originating in the Southern part of our country.

Rhubarb looks like red celery stalks and is sliced and combined raw with berries.  In this Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Crisp, I also added chopped pecans, for added crunch and to enhance the Southern Charm.  I love to serve this crisp at parties because it is easy to prepare and feeds a crowd, but it is also nice to make during the week and serve as a family dessert with leftovers that are delicious for breakfast.

Ingredients

10 stalks rhubarb

3 pints strawberries

1/2 cup honey, any variety

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup organic sugar, I liked the texture

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup pecans

1 stick butter + more for dish

1 cup whipped cream, optional

powdered sugar, optional

(Serves 12)

To Prepare:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a large 3-quart baking dish.  Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch slices, similar to celery.  Wash 3 pints of fresh strawberries. Remove the tops of the strawberries and cut them in half, and place them in a large bowl.  Add the honey and cornstarch and toss to coat.

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2.  Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture into your prepared dish.   In another bowl, combine the flour, sugars and salt, whisk to remove any lumps.  Chop the pecans into coarse pieces, and add them to the flour mixture.  Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the flour/pecan mixture.  With your hands, rub the butter into the flour to create medium sized crumbs.

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3.  Sprinkle the topping all over the strawberry mixture.  Place the dish onto a sheet pan and put it in the oven to bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges.  Remove the crisp from the oven and let cool, about 30 minutes.  Whip the cream, and add a little powdered sugar for sweetness. Spoon the crisp into bowls with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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