25 ESSENTIALS: Techniques for Planking
by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
Harvard Common Press
$12.95/paper over-boards with covered spiral binding
Contact: Howard Stelzer
In 25 ESSENTIALS: Techniques for Planking, one of the latest installments of the 25 Essentials series, Karen Adler and Judith Fertig demystify the art of cooking with a wood plank, which is an easy way to infuse food with the beguiling flavor of cedar, alder, and other plank woods smoke. In addition to helping readers select, prepare, and use a plank, this handy guidebook showcases 25 basic planking techniques and illustrates each with an easy recipe and gorgeous color photo. If the weather isn’t quite right for firing up the grill in the backyard, instructions for how to plank in an oven with thicker metal-reinforced planks make this method a feasible year-round cooking option. Prosciutto-Wrapped Planked Sea Scallops with Fresh Herb Aioli, Cedar-Planked Char with Wood-Grilled Onions, and Pepper Jack-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Chipotle-Bacon Slather demonstrate how tasty and versatile plank cooking can be.
About the Author
Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, fun-loving friends from Kansas City, have collectively authored more than 20 cookbooks, with more than 10 on the subject of barbecue and grilling, including Fish & Shellfish, Grilled & Smoked. They teach cooking classes across the United States, and have been featured in Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and Southern Living, as well as in newspapers and on TV stations nationwide including the TV Food Network. Adler and Fertig hold the honorary degrees of Masters in Barbecue (M.B.) and Doctor of Barbecue Philosophy (Ph.B.) from the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s Greasehouse University. Please visit Karen and Judith at their website, www.bbqqueens.com.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Planked Sea Scallops with Fresh Herb Aioli
With this technique you can use a grill griddle, or you can set aluminum foil over the low-heat side of the fire and place the planks on top of the foil; the foil (or the griddle) protects the planks from burning. These wrapped scallops look like little presents, and they are bursting with flavor and dolloped with fragrant herb aioli. Serve with grilled asparagus topped with some of the sauce.
Suggested plank: 1 oak, maple, or cedar baking or grilling plank, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
6 thin slices prosciutto
12 large sea scallops
Olive oil for brushing
1 loaf crusty bread wrapped in foil
Fresh Herb Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh spearmint
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Hot sauce to taste
4 sprigs fresh basil or mint, for garnish
Prepare a dual-heat fire in your grill, with a hot fire on one side and a low fire on the other if you’re using foil, or a medium-low fire if you’re using a grill griddle. Set a double sheet of aluminum foil over the low-fire side and place the plank on top, or place the plank on top of the griddle over the medium-low-fire side. Close the lid and let the plank heat for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the prosciutto lengthwise and wrap each scallop with a half slice. Brush with a little olive oil and set the scallops on the hot plank. Set the loaf of bread on the low-heat side of the grill, too, and close the lid. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the scallops are firm and just opaque.
Meanwhile, to make the aioli, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to blend.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the aioli onto the center of 4 serving plates. Arrange 3 scallops around the sauce on each plate and garnish with a sprig of basil. Serve with the warm, crusty bread.
Oven-Planking: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the planked scallops in the middle of the oven and close the door. Reduce the heat to 350°F. Oven-plank for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the scallops are firm and just opaque.
Pepper Jack-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Chipotle-Bacon Slather
Boneless chicken breasts cook beautifully on planks. We incorporate four ways to flavor the chicken in this single recipe, and it is pretty easy, too. Stuffing the breasts adds flavor and moisture, as does slathering them. The plank gives a nice woodsy flavor to the chicken, and the smoke adds the pièce de résistance! Canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce are available in most large supermarkets-check the Hispanic foods section. The adobo sauce is very spicy, so use it sparingly if you decide to add a little to the glaze. You could also make the glaze using half of a chile instead of a whole one; taste it, and if it’s not too hot for your palate, then add the other half. The unused peppers and sauce can be refrigerated for several weeks or frozen for several months.
Suggested plank: 1 apple, birch, oak, or cedar grilling plank, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Suggested wood: A combination of mesquite chips and apple or peach chips
1 cup mayonnaise (low-fat is okay)
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce, with additional sauce if desired
Four 4- to 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
8 slices pepper Jack cheese (about 1 ounce each)
Prepare an indirect fire in your grill, with a hot fire on one side and no fire on the other. For a charcoal grill, soak 1 cup wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes and place directly on the hot coals when ready to plank. For a gas grill, place 1/2 cup dry wood chips in a smoker box (or wrap the wood chips in aluminum foil and poke holes in the foil) and place over direct heat in the back of the grill.
To make the slather, combine all of the ingredients in a medium-size bowl.
Cut a horizontal pocket into each chicken breast without cutting all the way through. Stuff each pocket with 2 slices of cheese, then place the chicken breasts on the plank. Spread each breast with the slather, making sure to spread it so as to seal the edges of the chicken to the plank.
Place the plank on the indirect-heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook until the glaze is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F, 25 to 35 minutes.
Serve the chicken from the plank.
Oven-Planking: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place 1/2 cup dry wood chips in a small metal pan on the bottom rack of the oven and let smolder for about 15 minutes before planking. When the smoke begins to fill the oven, place the planked chicken on the middle rack of the oven and shut the door. Lower the heat to 350°F and oven-plank for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F.
This recipe may be reproduced with the following credit:
Recipe from 25 ESSENTIALS: Techniques for Planking by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
(Harvard Common Press, April 2010, $12.95/spiralbound)