Jerked Cedar Plank Halibut

by Paul Rogalski, from The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook by Ellen Jackson. Photo by Gentl & Hyers

 

Jerk seasoning, a traditional Caribbean spice rub made with allspice berries, Scotch bonnet chiles and a host of other herbs and spices, gets a Northwest twist. This recipe, which utilizes plank cooking on cedar, is a method commonly used on the West Coast, where halibut is plentiful.

 

Makes 6 servings

 

Jerk spice

  • 8 scallions, white and green parts, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper powder

Halibut

  • 1 or 2 cedar planks, large enough to accommodate 6 halibut fillets
  • 6 banana leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6 halibut fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • kosher salt
  • 2 scallions, for garnish
  • Lime wedges for serving

Combine the jerk spice ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Soak the cedar plant in water for 2 to 3 hours and dry well before using. Cut the banana leaves the same size as the halibut fillets; they will be the under liners for the fish. Brush the banana leaves with the sesame oil.

Heat the grill to high with the lid closed for 10 minutes. Season the halibut fillets with salt and put each one on a banana leaf liner. Spread 1 teaspoon of the jerk spice on top of each fillet before placing it on the plank.

When the grill is hot, carefully place the cedar plank and fish on the hottest part and close the lid. The cedar will begin to smoke. Cook the fish until it is just firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Use a spatula to remove each piece from the plank by lifting it from under the banana leaf. Arrange the fillets on a platter and garnish with thinly sliced scallion greens. Remove the hot plank from the grill. Plunge in cold water to cool quickly.