Alfresco 101: Test Your Pizza Oven’s Skills with this Cedar-Smoked Salmon Recipe
Cedar-smoked salmon is a great dish to prepare in your pizza oven if you’re looking for something a little different. With the right cedar planks and a quality piece of salmon, you can create some of the freshest, high-quality fish that tastes like it came from a five-star restaurant without leaving the comfort of your own backyard. The great thing about this option is that you have a lot of room to play with the exact recipe and create the flavors that you enjoy most.
Typically, if you’re going to smoke salmon on cedar planks, you won’t want to do too much in the way of other seasonings and marinades. The whole point is to draw out the smoky, woody flavor of the cedar, and too many spices will cover that up almost instantly. Of course, while you can find dozens of different recipes for cooking a good smoked salmon, we’ve included one below that’s pretty basic because we feel that the flavor really is in the fish. If you do want to add some flavor, consider popular choices like lemon and garlic or soy sauce-based marinades.
Warm-Up is Key
When it comes to making a good cedar-smoked salmon, the critical element is in warming up the pizza oven and the planks ahead of time. The oven should be fully pre-heated before you do anything. Once it reaches temperature, you can slide in your cedar planks. Allow them about five minutes to warm up before actually putting the fish in the oven to cook. This may not seem that important to the novice seafood chef, but the secret to smoking is all in the pre-heating.
Where to Find Cedar Planks
Like most grilling and outdoor cooking accessories, you can find cedar planks just about anywhere you can find barbecue grills for sale. The great thing, of course, is that because they’re also a cooking tool, you can often find them in the seafood department of many grocery stores or in the cooking department of big-box retailers. Online retailers and kitchen specialty stores will have cedar planks readily available, as well.
Cedar-Smoked Salmon Recipe: Modified for the Outdoor Pizza Oven
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30-45 minutes
- Skin-on salmon filets
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice or zest (optional)
- 1-2 hours before you are going to cook your salmon, soak the cedar planks in water. Some suggest using wine, sake, or cider, as well.
- Preheat the pizza oven to a temperature of about 350 degrees F. You want a medium, indirect heat for best cooking results.
- Slide the planks into the oven, leaving a little space between them for even cooking. Let the planks heat for about five minutes.
- While the oven and planks are pre-heating, you can prep the salmon. Drizzle the filets with the olive oil and lemon juice (if desired), and then sprinkle salt and pepper. Repeat the process on both sides.
- Lay the filets skin side down on the cedar planks and slide them back into the center of the pizza oven. Let them cook for about five minutes in this position.
- After five minutes have passed, slide the planks to the mouth of the oven, where they can finish at a slightly lower temperature. They should cook here for approximately five more minutes, and you can check the center for uniform pinkness to ensure the fish is cooked.
- You can now easily remove the skin from the salmon. Most of it should stick to the plank and make removal easy with a thin spatula. You can also serve it skin-on if desired.