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Jena DeMoss: Planking with salmon

When you hear the word “plank,” your mind may jump to everything from exercises to pirate ships to wooden grilling planks and beyond. But did you know that fruit can also serve as a plank for grilling? That’s right — pineapple, oranges and even lemons can be used as a plank for grilling! This tasty and tropical take on planking might just end up being your new favorite go-to this summer.

What are the main differences between wood plank grilling and grilling on fruit as a plank?

When wood planks are used for grilling, they need to be soaked ahead of time. Using fruit as a plank does not require soaking ahead of time. Meanwhile, it adds bright, tangy flavor to meat and seafood.

Pineapples are a great source of vitamin C and manganese. Vitamin C supports our immune system and plays an important role in iron absorption. Consuming pineapple or another source of vitamin C when also eating a source of iron, such as red meat or spinach, helps optimize absorption. Manganese is a nutrient that is perhaps less talked about, but can help promote healthy skin and cartilage.

Fruit-plank grilling fits well with protein options such as salmon or chicken breast. If you choose to do it with salmon, consider leaving the skin on for grilling. From a cooking perspective, having the skin on can help hold the salmon fillet together while cooking. You can choose to remove it after cooking. However, the skin has the highest concentration of heart-healthy omega-3 fat found in the salmon. So if you’re open to trying the skin, there is some benefit to it. You’ll still get some omega-3s from the salmon, though, if you prefer to take it off.

If you choose a fruit with a peel such as an orange or a lemon to use as a plank, make sure to wash the fruit before cutting the slices. Anything on the peel enters the fruit once you cut it, so washing beforehand is important. This still applies when you’re grilling it.

Pineapple-Planked Salmon

Serves 4

All you need

• 1 (1-lb) skin-on wild salmon fillet

• ½ cup purchased ponzu sauce

•1/3 cup honey

• ¼ cup pineapple juice

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

• 1 tbsp unsalted butter

• 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ – to • ½-inch rings

•Sliced green onions, for garnish

• Sesame seeds, for garnish

All you do

1. Pat fish dry; place in a shallow dish. Combine ponzu sauce, honey, pineapple juice, garlic and ginger. Reserve ½ cup. Pour remaining mixture on salmon. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill with greased grill rack for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Transfer reserved ponzu mixture to a saucepan; bring to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in butter.

3. Grill 9 pineapple slices for 2 minutes. Turn slices over; arrange to form plank for salmon. Drain salmon; pat dry. Place, skin side down, on pineapple plank. Grill 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork (145 degrees F), brushing with sauce after 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Discard charred pineapple. Grill remaining pineapple until slightly charred, brushing with remaining sauce. Garnish salmon with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve with glazed pineapple.

Source: Adapted from Hy-Vee Seasons Magazine, June 2020