Mary T. Newman is the coordinator for the Committee on Native American Ministries for the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. Mary leads extensive community education and outreach events on Native American history and culture. Her skills include pottery and cooking over a fire. Mary T. shares some of her favorite recipes with us along with some interesting facts about the ingredients and the origin of each dish.
Salmon is an important food staple for Native Americans. Tribes in the Pacific Northwest feature salmon in totem poles and other artwork. Native Americans have long believed that salmon, like buffalo are sacred because they offer themselves as food for Native people. Tribes in these coastal areas would dry the salmon for long-term food storage. A jerky of salmon dried with brown sugar and spices is called “Indian candy” is sometimes sold at powwows and other gatherings.
Wild caught salmon from Washington State or Alaska is very different from the more common farm raised salmon found in most grocery stores and restaurants. Wild caught salmon has a more vibrant deep orange to red color than the lighter orange farm raised stock. The taste of wild salmon is also describes as more “savory and complex.” All that said, the salmon that most of us have available is farmed fish.
1-3 lbs wild caught skin-on salmon filet (depending how many you are serving)
Fresh dill (find in the produce section of your store)
Pinches of salt
(Optional) smoked paprika
A food-grade cedar plank
There are several recipes for salmon rubs, but this is simple but tasty and doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the salmon.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Soak the plank in water for at least 45 minutes. You can do this in advance and freeze the plank until you are ready to use it. **You would soak plank whether using in oven, grill or by a fire.
Lightly brush some oil on the plank. Place salmon skin-side down on plank. Brush fish lightly with olive oil.
Scatter then lemon slices and fresh dill on the salmon.
Bake until flesh is just cooked through and flakes easily, about 10-14 minutes.
**Folks question whether to reuse the cedar plank. Due to bacteria that could set up – scrubbing with soap could leave a taste – and the planks are pretty economical, I would say not to reuse the plank. It can easily become part of your ‘firewood’.
This video was first posted on December 22, 2020.