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Cedar-Plank Salmon with Lemon-Dill Hollandaise

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1-½ cups melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets, skin-on and pin-bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon minced tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Cedar wood imparts the salmon with a lush smoky flavor. When cooking with planks, they need to be immersed in water at least an hour prior to grilling. A water-soaked plank produces maximum smoke flavor and is more resistant to charring on the grill.

To make the lemon-dill hollandaise: In a small saucepan, cook white wine, vinegar, shallots and peppercorns until nearly dry. Cool the reduction to room temperature, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium stainless steel bowl—you should have about a tablespoon of liquid.

In a medium saucepan, simmer two inches of water. Once the hollandaise reduction has cooled, whisk in the egg yolks and place bowl over the simmering water; whisk constantly until thickened and warm. To avoid overcooking the mixture, be sure that the water is just barely simmering with no visible signs of surface action, just steam rising.

As the egg yolks warm, they increase in volume. If they become too warm and begin to coagulate around the sides and bottom, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

When the yolks have tripled in volume and the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon, remove the bowl from the simmering water. Stabilize the bowl by setting on a towel or on a towel inside of another bowl. Add the butter in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly until incorporated. The sauce will thicken as more butter is added.

If the sauce does start to break, try adding a small amount of water and whisking until the sauce is smooth before adding more butter. If that doesn’t work, try cooking another egg yolk over simmering water until thickened then adding the broken hollandaise gradually into the new egg yolk.

Stir in lemon juice and dill, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve sauce immediately or hold sauce at a temperature of 145-degrees for up to two hours.

To heat cedar planks: Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium. Close grill lid and preheat to 375°F. Alternatively, preheat an oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the center.

Remove the soaked cedar plank from the water and place on the grill rack. Close the grill and allow the board to heat for a few minutes until it begins to smoke or crackle. If using a plank for the first time, season the plank by placing it on a preheated grill for 2 minutes, turning once. Lightly toasting the plank on both sides will intensify its smoky flavor and prevent warping. When the plank starts crackling, it’s ready for cooking.

To cook salmon: Using tongs, arrange the salmon evenly on cedar planks. Using a silicone pastry brush, lightly coat the salmon with olive and sprinkle with tarragon. Cover the grill, or close the oven, and cook until the fish flakes, about 8 minutes.

To serve: Transfer salmon to warmed dinner plates, top with a teaspoon of lemon-dill hollandaise and serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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