A Fine Fillet for Chardonnay

At Orlando restaurant Seasons 52, Chef Clifford Pleau pairs his cedar plank-roasted salmon with a moderately oaked Chardonnay for a most complementary combination.

As hot as June may be, it’s considered the bridge month—warm enough to enjoy the afternoons but sometimes shy of the temperatures needed for late-night alfresco dining. Cooking in June also straddles indoor and outdoor, with some dishes prepared on the grill and others in the oven.

Salmon is a dish that can go either way. Delicious grilled to perfection on red-hot embers, it can also be roasted—a sure way to seal in the juices and infuse the fish with the flavors of spices and other accents.

Seasons 52, an Orlando-based restaurant known for its wine-by-the-glass program, features a Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon dish—a recipe that employs an alchemy of Dijon mustard, malt vinegar, soy sauce and lemon zest to make the already popular salmon fillet truly magical.

“What is special about the cedar plank is the aroma it imparts on the dish,” says chef Clifford Pleau. “It showcases the quality flavor of organic salmon.”

Pinot Noir is the traditional partner for salmon and is a first pick for a grilled fillet, but the flavor accents in this preparation call for something more non-traditional. George Miliotes, sommelier and Master of Wine, pairs the dish with a moderately oaked Chardonnay. The wine has the body to complement the strong flavors of mustard, vinegar, soy and lemon in the dish.

Try a Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley or Carneros region. Too much oak may smother the pairing, so be selective and find a wine that has a modest amount.

Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus some for planks)
4 each fresh salmon fillets (6-8 ounces each, boneless and skinless)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cedar planks (available at gourmet grocery stores)

Day ahead: Soak cedar planks in water overnight.

Combine Dijon mustard, malt vinegar, soy sauce, lemon zest and juice and olive oil in a small glass dish. Add salmon and allow to marinate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 475°F. Remove cedar planks from soaking water and rub them with olive oil. Place salmon fillets on cedar planks and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast salmon 8–10 minutes and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

Published on May 24, 2011



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