Books, Cooking, Food, Recipe

Eat This While You Read That: Chris Smith

Chris Smith has a sick, evil, twisted sense of humor.

I do like that in a person. Really! But he made me laugh out loud when he suggested the dish for this, and I’m sure that was his intention all along. Oh, and because it’s delicious. But mostly, I’m sure it was the punniness of it.

If this lead in is grabbing you, then you’re going to like the book he co-wrote with Jason Cordova, Kraken Mare. Full of dark humor, dark seas, and an alien planet, the book is a compelling read even if it does verge on Horror (which I don’t care for, but I liked Kraken Mare). Also, it pairs nicely with this meal. kraken mare

So what did Chris suggest I make?

Cedar cooking with Cedar
Cedar cooking with Cedar

Why, Cedar Planked Salmon, of course!

This is a relatively simple thing to prepare. Ideally, you’d grill this, which I had planned to do. Unfortunately, we had pop-up thundershowers so grilling was out. But! It can easily be done in the oven, and the rub means you don’t lose out on much flavor. And for my readers who can’t grill, you can do this.

This can easily be made in the oven or on the grill
This can easily be made in the oven or on the grill

First thing to do is secure a couple of cedar planks. I think the first time I did this I used shingle scraps, but as you can see, I bought some for this meal. I grabbed them at the grocery store, but if you can’t find them, Amazon has them in a 12 pack. I set the plank (only cooking for two, for more you need more) in a shallow pan of water to soak about an hour before I planned to use it.

To serve alongside the meal I did a quick Greek Salad and this lovely black rice I’d found, for contrast  with the salmon.

Black Rice
Black Rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, cook on brown rice setting or on stovetop over low heat for 35-40 minutes after bringing to a boil.

Cedar Planked Salmon


  • For 1 lb of salmon, I used the following proportions on the rub:
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or 2 tsp paste)
  • 1/4 tsp berbere
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • few drops liquid smoke


  • Fire up the grill, or preheat oven to 350 deg (175 C)
  • Combine rub ingredients and coat fish in the mixture.
  • Place fish on soaked cedar plank.
  • Cook on grill for 10-12 minutes, until fish is firm but not dry
  • Cook in oven for 12 minutes, then turn off baking elements and turn on broiler. Watch carefully for 2-3 minutes, then remove to serve.
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    Fish on a wet plank.
    Fish on a wet plank.
    Finished fish on a slightly blackened plank
    Finished fish on a slightly blackened plank

    The First Reader, who won’t normally touch fish, ate all of his portion and agreed that the rub gave it a lot of flavor. I really enjoyed this, and am looking forward to a chance to make it on the grill, soon! It’s a fast, elegant, summer dinner that is well worth the special preparation efforts. The salmon was cooked beautifully, juicy, and more flavorful as any salmon I’ve had (and I’ve eaten a lot of salmon).

    Cedar Planked Salmon-9 Perfect for kicking back in the backyard with a book after the storm has knocked the heat down!

    You can find the index page for ETWYRT here, and the facebook group where we chat about food and books here.

    2 thoughts on “Eat This While You Read That: Chris Smith

    1. The serving of black rice has a certain look to it. A sort of LV-426 look.
      I do not think I would be leaning over it and prodding it with my fork.
      Just saying.

      The salmon looks mighty tasty.

      Maybe for late October, an Ed Wood planked salmon recipe.

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