Infused with the sweet, smoky aura of cedarwood, this salmon and asparagus preparation makes for a killer presentation, and is easy to put together!
- 4 fresh salmon portions, approximately 4-6 ounces each
- 1 lb asparagus, divided into 4 portions (see note*)
- 1 lemon sliced into 8 thin rounds
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered sumac (optional, see note**)
- Spring of rosemary or thyme (optional, see note***)
- Pinch Kosher salt
- 4 cedar wraps for grilling
- Soak cedar wraps in cool water for an hour or two before assembly; this will prevent them from catching fire on the grill and will make them more pliable to work with. No need to use your sink for this; a wide shallow pan or rimmed baking sheet will do just fine.
- In a small bowl, mix together mayo, Aleppo chili, brown sugar, kosher salt, and sumac (if using)
- Preheat grill and set up for two-zone cooking (hot side = direct heat; cooler side = indirect heat. For gas, light one or two burners; for charcoal, prepare as normal and bank coals to one side before cooking).
- Remove cedar papers from water and gently blot dry
- Brush cedar wrap with very thin (almost translucent) layer of mayo mixture
- Place bundle asparagus in the center of the cedar wrap
- Place salmon portion on top of asparagus, brush again lightly with mayo mixture
- Top salmon with two lemon rounds (seeds removed, which I forgot to do for this post)
- Top with sprig of rosemary or thyme (if using)
- Fold edges over asparagus, salmon and lemon. If some asparagus is peaking out, that’s okay – but have it be the bottoms, rather than the delicate tips, that are exposed.
- Secure with cooking twine (one tie in the middle of the wrap should do it)
- Grill over direct heat for 2 minutes – just long enough to mark the cedar paper, then transfer to indirect heat
- Remove packets from grill when internal temp of salmon hits 130°F; transfer immediately to a casserole dish or similar, and seal tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes; residual heat and resulting steam will cook salmon and asparagus through
- Serve with rice, or starch of choice
*Note: Depending on the thickness of your asparagus, you may need to par-cook it to ensure it’s done at the same time as the salmon. You could do this by blanching it in boiling water until bright green – but honestly, just wrap it in a few layers of damp paper towels and nuke it in the microwave for 1-3 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave), checking every 30 seconds, until it’s bright green
**Note: Sumac is a key ingredient in Mediterranean cooking, and is fabulous on grilled meat and veggies, as well as an awesome addition to salads. It has a zingy, lemon-zesty, yet somewhat earthy flavor, and can be found at well stocked grocery stores or, of course, on Amazon
***Note: Rosemary (pictured) is good, and is pretty – but it’s strong, distinct flavor may overwhelm the more subtle flavors of the dish for some palates, so unless you LOVE rosemary, I’d opt for thyme