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A&E >  Food

Plank ramps up flavor

Safeway chef pairs planked salmon with quinoa, kale

This cedar planked salmon with quinoa and grilled kale campfire packet was developed by Jeff Anderson, executive chef of Safeway Culinary Kitchens.
This cedar planked salmon with quinoa and grilled kale campfire packet was developed by Jeff Anderson, executive chef of Safeway Culinary Kitchens.

There’s no salmon like cedar-planked salmon.

Incredibly moist, tender and perfumed with woodsy and smoky flavors, it might be my favorite way to enjoy this staple of the Pacific Northwest.

The simple and elegant technique is rooted in the tradition of Pacific coastal tribes, which would cook and smoke their fish and seafood by tying it to wooden boards placed near an open fire.

The cedar plank protects the fish from the heat of the grill, helping ensure the flaky, lush flesh won’t be overcooked. The result is savory and aromatic, combining the cedar scent from the plank with the smokiness from the grill.

Along with cedar-planked salmon, this recipe, developed by Safeway’s executive chef Jeff Anderson, features quinoa and a single Safeway Farms Kale Cranberry Pecan Chopped Salad kit.

A good, gluten-free source of protein, iron and fiber, quinoa pearls are about the same size as their couscous counterparts. A thorough rinsing before cooking helps keep the delicate grains from tasting slightly bitter.

If you don’t have – or want to buy – the pre-packaged salad mix, which comes with pre-made dressing, there’s an adaptation for a similar recipe below as well as instructions for making your own, similar, country-style Dijon dressing.

Cedar Planked Salmon with Quinoa and Grilled Kale Campfire Packet

Recipe by Chef Jeff Anderson, executive chef of Safeway Culinary Kitchens, courtesy of Safeway

2 skinless salmon fillets (8 ounces each)

1 large cedar plank

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for fish

pinch kosher salt

pinch freshly ground black pepper

Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad, plus dressing (see note)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for dressing salad

Soak cedar plank for 45 to 60 minutes before cooking salmon. Prepare a medium-heat fire using charcoal or gas.

To prepare campfire packet, place one piece of aluminum foil, 16 inches long, onto work surface and cross second, same-sized sheet on top of the first. Place kale cranberry salad into center of foil, dress with salad dressing, and top with cooked quinoa and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Fold the foil over the top of the salad-quinoa mixture to seal the packet. Put packet onto grill and allow to cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning over occasionally to allow for thorough heating. Remove from fire and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes to allow for thorough steaming.

Dress salmon with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place cedar plank onto the grill and place salmon onto plank; cover grill and allow salmon to cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until fully cooked. Transfer ingredients of campfire kale-quinoa packet onto larger serving platter; remove salmon from grill and transfer directly onto kale-quinoa mixture.

Note: Anderson uses 1 Safeway Farms Kale Cranberry Pecan Chopped Salad kit.)

Serves: 2

Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

Adapted from and

1 cup torn kale

1/2 cup shredded cabbage

1/2 cup shredded radicchio

1/2 cup broccoli, finely chopped

1/2 cup slivered carrots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup candied pecans

1/2 cup herbed seasoned croutons

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Dress with Country Dijon-Style Mustard Dressing.

Country Dijon-Style Mustard Dressing


2 tablespoons brown, white or yellow mustard seed

1/4 cup powdered mustard

1/4 cup dry white wine or water

1 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

Place mustard seed into a spice or coffee grinder and grind to desired texture. Combine the ground seeds with the powdered mustard; stir in the wine or water and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and salt and mix well. Place mustard in a clean jar and allow to set at room temperature overnight, then refrigerate for several days to two weeks before using to allow the flavors to ripen.

Yield: 1 cup

Note: For variations on flavor, try adding any one or a combination of the following ingredients to the mustard: 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/4 teaspoon onion powder. Or, substitute the dry white wine with beer that has been allow to go flat and is at room temperature.

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