What’s more American than apple pie? This height-of-summer homage to indigenous foods, perfect for the tail end of our local king salmon season. Long before Johnny Appleseed came on the scene, the Wampanoag were making corn porridges (msíckquatash), the Aztec were cultivating tomatoes (tomatl) and peppers (xilli), and tribes in the Pacific Northwest were planking salmon. For an equally delicious vegan take, swap in silken tofu for the salmon; the tofu delivers a delicate, custardy texture and takes on the smoky flavors beautifully.
- 5” x 11” culinary cedar plank
- 1 pound king salmon (or 14-ounce package of “firm” silken tofu)
- ¾ tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons butter, regular or plant-based
- ½ large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces corn kernels, stripped from 2 cobs
- 20 mixed color cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
- Soak the cedar plank in a large bowl or baking pan full of water, using a can or something heavy to weigh the plank down, for at least one hour and up to 12 hours.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan on low. Remove the cedar plank from the water. Place the salmon (or tofu) on top, and place on the grill. Close the grill cover (or place a deep lid on top of the grill pan to seal. Cook over low for 25-30 minutes until just opaque in the center (for the tofu, you aren’t really cooking it, simply infusing the smoke flavor).
- While the salmon/tofu smokes, make the succotash. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet, adding the onion once it is melted. Cook the onion 3-5 minutes, stirring, until softened, then add the bell pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and cook until just heated through.
- Season with salt, pepper and half of the chives. The goal is to keep all the ingredients crunchy and fresh, as a contrast to the soft salmon/tofu. Stir in salt, pepper to taste, and more butter if you are feeling a bit decadent.
- Remove the salmon/tofu from the grill and slice into portions. Spoon the succotash onto individual plates or a serving dish, top with the salmon/tofu, and garnish with the remaining chives.
Reprinted with permission from Stone Pier Press
This recipe will appear in my forthcoming What’s for Dinner: Plant-rich feasts for any occasion, available for pre-order now. The book is the first volume in an eco-cooking series, meeting the dinner challenge with a set of full-bodied, vegan and vegetarian entrées, plus plant-based starters, sides and desserts, meant to anchor celebratory meals.