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Alder Plank Roast Salmon

Cedar Plank Roast Salmon with Toasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Salmon.  From Japan to Scandanavia and Scotland, from the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic seaboard, wild or farmed, salmon is served on tables around the world. In today's recipe, we use a traditional cooking technique adapted from Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest paired with a vinaigrette made with pumpkin. This is Alder Plank Roast Salmon with Toasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette. 

Course barbecue, dinner, seafood
Cuisine American
Keyword salmon, vinaigrette
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Author David Ross


For the Vinaigrette-

  • 1 cup pepitas-green pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Salmon-

  • 4 6oz. salmon filets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 alder or cedar grilling planks soaked in water one hour
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 head Swiss chard (or Kale), chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


Make the vinaigrette-

  1. Heat the oven to 350. Spread the green pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Toast in the oven just until the pumpkin seeds start to brown, about 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

    Pepitas-Green Pumpkin Seeds
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add ½ cup of the toasted pumpkin seeds.  (Reserve the other ½ cup of pumpkin seeds as a garnish).  Add the pumpkin puree, garlic, turmeric, tomato and apple cider vinegar.  Stir the mixture and then turn the heat down to low while you roast the salmon.  Just before service, bring the heat back to medium and stir in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast the Salmon-

  1. To grill the salmon on wood planks-Heat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat.  When you’re ready to cook, turn off one side of the burner.  This is the area where you’ll place the salmon on the planks for grilling. If using a charcoal grill, heat the coals until they are white hot.  Push the charcoal to one side of the grill.  Place the grill grate over the charcoal.

  2. Drain the alder planks from the water. Place each salmon filet on one of the planks. Brush the salmon filets with olive oil.  Sprinkle the salmon filets with the mustard powder and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Place the salmon on the side of the grill with the heat turned off.  If you’re using a charcoal fire, place planks off to the side away from the charcoal. Cover the grill and cook the salmon until firm about 10 minutes.  A meat thermometer inserted in the salmon should read 120-125.

  4. For oven-roasting the salmon-heat the oven to 400.  Sprinkle the salmon filets with the mustard powder and season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the salmon filets and cook on each side, about 3-4 minutes.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the salmon for another 4-5 minutes or until the salmon is firm to the touch and done. A meat thermometer inserted in the salmon should read 120-125.

  5. While the salmon roasts, make the greens.  Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Swiss chard and stir-fry until the greens are wilted.  Add a few tablespoons of water if the greens become dry.

  6. To serve, place some of the greens in the center of a plate.  Top the greens with one of the salmon filets, then drizzle the pumpkin seed vinaigrette over the salmon and around the plate.  Garnish the salmon with some of the toasted pumpkin seeds.

Recipe Notes

Salmon is best for this dish, but halibut and cod also work well.  The vinaigrette goes well on salads, with chicken or game birds and any grilled meats.