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The personal chef needs to be able to work with gourmet and home dishes in any situation. To really test your cooking abilities, many professional chefs would recommend looking into fish grilling. Delicate and difficult, fish are the undoing of many would-be and aspiring chefs but the personal chef loves to take on a challenge. For this session, we will be cooking a bon vivant specialty: Cedar Planked Salmon.

Make sure you have the following ingredients:

  • 3 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 (2 pound) salmon fillets, skin removed

The entire recipe revolves on the unique usage of cedar planks as an ingredient and not in the traditional sense of a tool. Using these, get a bowl and fill it with warm water – then soak the planks in these for an hour or longer if you have the time. That being a necessity, this recipe requires some time for preparation and you should only use the planks once to really get the flavor right. However, if no problem comes with the cedar planks, then the dish itself should take no more than 35 minutes prepping and cooking time.

The next thing the personal chef should do is to get a shallow dish and from here, the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic should be mixed and stirred into a blend. With your marinade ready, take out your salmon fillets, put them in the bowl and turn these to coat for a few minutes – a good average would be 15 minutes though an hour would be best (if you have the time).

This specialty meal requires an outdoor grill to best capture the taste. Preheat the grill for medium heat and then place the cedar planks on a grate. No higher than that as it may burn the planks and you’ll be left with expensive charcoal. For those first time chefs, the next part can be a bit daunting but you’ll get it right following intuition. You will know the planks are ready if they’ve dried up, begin smoking, and then crackling a bit.

Once that’s settled in, take the salmon fillets and place them on the cedar planks. You may discard the marinade as you won’t need it for anything anymore. You may cover up the dish for some twenty minutes or depending on how well done you want your salmon. To check if the fish is done, try flaking it with a fork. Give it a few extra minutes cooking allowance as the fish will still continue to cook even after you remove it from the grill. The personal chef can then serve these specialty dishes paired with some fruit juices and side dishes under a gentle noontime sun in the terrace or perhaps over candlelight and some acoustic guitar.

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