Cedar Plank Salmon, a culinary delight in the northwest Pacific
Written by Sophia Wan
On 29 May 2024

Cedar plank salmon is a popular cooking method and dish in the Pacific Northwest region, especially in areas like Washington and Oregon.

This dish is not just a meal, but a celebration of the abundant natural resources and rich indigenous heritage that have shaped the culture of this corner of the world.

Cedar Plank Salmon with Honey Lime Dressing

The root of cedar plank salmon can be traced back centuries to the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, including the Coast Salish, Tlingit and Haida peoples. These master fishermen and artisans discovered that cooking salmon on fragrant planks of western red cedar imparted a unique and delicious flavour, while also helping to retain the fish’s moisture and delicate texture.

The cedar wood, indigenous to the region, would be carefully selected, soaked and then used as a natural oven to gently smoke and steam the salmon over an open fire.

Wild salmon grilled on a cedar plank

These traditional cooking techniques did more than just infuse the fish with the aromatic essence of the cedar; it also held deep spiritual significance. The cedar tree itself was held in high regard for its multifaceted usefulness, with the wood, bark, and roots utilised to create a wide range of essential items, from canoes to longhouses.

Preparing salmon on cedar planks was viewed as a way to acknowledge the deep interconnection between the land, water and all living things – a guiding philosophy that continues to inspire the culinary traditions of the Pacific Northwest to this day.

When you take a bite of the perfectly cooked cedar plank salmon, the flavours of the fresh seafood and the woody aroma from the cedar planks blend together seamlessly.

Whether enjoyed at a seaside restaurant or a lively farmers market, this signature dish represents the enduring heritage of the region’s indigenous communities and their deep-rooted bond with the natural environment.

Maybe the Best Cedar Plank Salmon Ever | SAM THE COOKING GUY

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