When I lived in British Columbia, one of my favourite things to do was have a picnic lunch with a variety of breads, cheeses, pâté and some incomparable Indian Candy Salmon. If you’ve never tried Indian Candy Salmon, you really must, if you get the chance. It is brined salmon that has been cold-smoked for up to two weeks and the end result is a type of sweet, salmon jerky.
But the hard part is that I’ve never found it outside B.C. and I don’t have the patience (or equipment) to make this myself by smoking the salmon. However, the good news is that the salmon recipe I’m going to share with you today is the closest thing I’ve found, in flavour, to Indian Candy Salmon—although it is not a precise match because it is no where near Indian Candy in terms of the “jerky” texture.
I’ve made this a number of times for guests over the past two years and it is always met with rave reviews from adults and kids alike. In fact, seven year-old Robert, a friend of the family, started calling me “Salmon Barb” after I made this on New Year’s Eve a couple years ago. I now make it for him most times we stay with his family at their cottage in Wasaga Beach because he likes it so much.
You can buy planks at gourmet food and kitchen shops, supermarkets and home improvement centres. I buy my cedar planks in packages of six at Costco, which is where I also buy my salmon. The planks are approximately 7″ x 16″ (you will need one at least this size for a 4-5 lb salmon.) There are also quite a wide range of cedar planks available on amazon.com. The label on the planks should say untreated and “food grade.”
Worst case scenario, you can wrap the salmon in foil and cook it on the barbeque. I do this with the small pieces that I cut off (so that the salmon fits on the plank) and they still taste great.
The K.C. Baron’s Cedar-Planked Salmon With Brown-Sugar Cure
Adapted slightly from Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuck’s Barbeque Secrets Deluxe!
- 1 large cedar plan, soaked in water for at least one hour (the original recipe calls for hickory planks)
- 4 to 5 lb (2.2 kg) fillet of salmon (with or without skin), pin bones removed
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning or Seafood Seasoning (recipe below)
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp coursely ground black pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
½ cup Dijon mustard
1 cup dark brown sugar
- Mix rub ingredients well in a medium-sized bowl.
- Place the salmon on a baking pan or in large casserole dish. Sprinkle both sides of the fillet with half of the rub. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let it marinate or cure for 2 hours.
- When ready to cook salmon, remove it from the fridge.
- Using a pastry brush (or spoon), paint the top side of the fillet with mustard and then sprinkle on the brown sugar to coat.
- Preheat grill on medium-high for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse the soaked plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 5 minutes (or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly). This step is optional – I often omit it although die-hard plankers would probably cringe at my technique.
- Place the salmon on the plank and cook on preheated gas grill for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish has an internal temperature of 135° (57°C).
Seafood Seasoning (if required)
- 1 tbsp ground bay leaves
- 2-½ celery salt
- 1-½ tsp dry mustard
- 1-½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and store in an airtight container.
- I buy the salmon for this from Costco because it is great quality at a good price. It comes without the skin and still works well, although the original recipe calls a salmon fillet with skin. If your fillet does have skin, you can apply the rub to the skin in step 2 above.
- To make a portion of this “kid-friendly” I omit the dijon mustard on a small section of the salmon and either replace it with yellow mustard or omit the mustard completely and just sprinkle on the sugar. Some kids find the dijon a bit spicy. I also reduce the black pepper in the rub to 1 tsp when serving to kids.
- The original recipe calls for Morton Tender, which I’ve never been able to find. If available, you could replace the 2 tbsp salt with 1 tbsp Morton Tender and 2 tsp kosher salt.
- I highly recommend Ron’s book Barbeque Secrets Deluxe! It is chock-full of tasty barbeque recipes, and Ron provides thorough details on how to barbeque like a pro.
Saturday morning the first thing my youngest ponytail said to me was: “when will you make my favourite chick pea salad ever again?”
How could I refuse a request like that?
So what started out as this…
Turned into this:
Which resulted in one happy ponytail:
Okay, make that two happy ponytails–even if one of them isn’t a big fan of my salad.
Since I didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping before the picnic, I had to use the staples that I had on hand. That is the great thing about this chick pea salad. It’s made primarily with ingredients that you quite likelyalready have in your pantry. Add in some celery and parsley from the garden and you’re off the races. This is one of the reasons that this salad has quickly become one of my favourites — and my youngest ponytail’s too!
I was also lucky enough to have some smoked salmon from New Brunswick that my longtime friend Carol brought me a few weeks back when she came to visit. (Thanks Carol!!!) I kept waiting to find just the right recipe to use it, but in the end I decided to prepare it simply with some cream cheese so that we could fully enjoy the flavour.
It wasn’t a fancy picnic — just a few key things prepared simply. Isn’t that what a picnic is all about?
By the way, you need to grab yourself some bread right away, or else you’ll end up with none.
Italian Chickpea, Tuna and Parsley Salad
Slightly adapted from Two Dishes, by Linda Haynes & Devin Connell
- 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 oz can flaked water-packed white tuna, drained
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 medium)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- pinch hot red pepper flakes
- a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
Mix the chickpeas, tuna, celery, onion, parsley, lemon juice, oil, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper together in a large bowl and allow to marinate for up to 30 minutes before serving.