Cedar Plank Grilled Loup De Mer (Sea Bass)

January  4, 2010
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 (depending on the size of your fish)
Author Notes

I love the flavor that the cedar imparts to fish ... I have made this recipe with other whole fish, it's very good with trout too. A word on cedar planks - you can buy them from a specialty store for like $11.99 if you want, OR - you can go to Home Depot and purchase UNTREATED cedar fence pickets for about $2.49 and cut them to length, thereby getting a BUNCH of planks for a fraction of the cost. Fish wider than the picket? Just lay 2 side by side on the grill and proceed! - aargersi —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

We'd never grilled a fish on cedar before and what a revelation! The cedar wraps the fish in a sweet smokiness without overwhelming the gentle flavor of the sea bass. And if you're ever looking for a dish that'll be a visual showstopper, this is it -- the fish firms up and turns the color of bronze on the grill, making it look frozen in time. Our 2 1/4-pound fish took 26 minutes to cook through. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cedar plank - fish sized
  • 1 whole Lup De Mar - scaled and cleaned
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • thinly sliced tomato
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • thinly sliced lemon
  • kitchen twine
  • a squirt bottle filled with water (just in case!)
  1. A few hours ahead of cooking, soak your plank in water - you will have to weight it to hold it under. I do mine in the sink with a heavy pot. Heat your grill to HIGH when you are ready to get started.
  2. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Sprinkle the inside with olive oil and kosher salt.
  3. Line the inside of the fish with the basil leaves, then layer the sliced tomato, onion and lemon. How many slices will depend on the size of the fish.
  4. Salt the outside of the fish, then tie it up with kitchen twine - roast style. Lay it on the plank.
  5. Head out to the grill. Make sure it is VERY hot. Lay the plank / fish on the grill and lower the cover. You are going to want to check every couple of minutes JUST in case the plank isn't completely soaked - coals and smoke are GOOD, a flaming plank is BAD. That's where the squirt bottle comes in.
  6. You might want to squirt the bottom part of the plank a couple times in either case to make it smoke up a bit. The smoke adds a TON of great flavor.
  7. When the plank is blackened and the fish is toasty brown on the "up" side, you're done! (see photo) Bring it in and cut the twine away. If you are a wimp (like me) remove the head and serve!
  8. Caution - the fish I cooked did have a lot of bones so I had to pull the meat out carefully. Just depends on your particular fish ...

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Adelucchi
  • FrancesRen
  • thirschfeld
  • WinnieAb
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

23 Reviews

Adelucchi May 14, 2014
Hi, My first encounter with cedar plank cooked fish was in Ohio. A friend of my son's invited us over for salmon cooked on a cedar plank. He had lived near a reservation and learned the technique from the natives. It was cooked on a plank standing next to an open fire. Best fish ever!! Cant wait to try my hand. Thanks for reminding me of a great eating adventure!
Oxide May 1, 2012
Just a quick comment about the choice of cedar for smoking the fish in this recipe -- any hardwood will work as well, and impart the flavor of the wood into the fish if the wood smokes. The plank should be about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick and free of any chemicals, e.g. not previously stained or painted. Oak or maple or mesquite would be good choices. In general, avoid using planks from evergreens like pine or redwood.

FrancesRen February 23, 2011
A genius recipe. I can't wait to try this out.
thirschfeld July 20, 2010
Somehow I missed this. I really like cooking with whole fish. I too, for some reason have stayed away from the cedar plank but I think I am changing my mind. The picture is great too.
aargersi July 20, 2010
Embrace the plank! We do this a LOT and are happy with the results every time! That's A&Ms photo - mine is the sad ugly one at the end :-)
BruceCole January 20, 2010
For best results when using a cedar plank, you want to "pre-heat" the wood, so to speak. Put the plank (sans the fish) over hot coals, cover the grill, and wait until the wood begins to smoke. Then place the fish on the plank and close the grill. This method maximizes the smoky flavor from the cedar wood (which is the whole point of the method). Also, consider using indirect heat for cooking - pile the coals on one side of the grill and put the plank on the opposite side - this way the wood doesn't catch on fire.
WinnieAb January 16, 2010
This looks great! Can't wait to give it a try.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 16, 2010
Can planks be reused - or are they one time only things? I have a cedar plank that I've been wanting to test drive. This looks like a perfect way to do it. Thanks. And this would be great with one of your citrus salts, yes?
aargersi January 16, 2010
Hi there! YES on the citrus salt for sure ... they would work great. Planks are a one time use - it'll be pretty burned up when your done. And if you take the fish off the plank then forget the plank is on the grill for oh, 3 or 4 days, it is also stinky :-) Ask me how I know that.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 16, 2010
ALL good info to know :-) I'll think we'll give this a go tonight. Thanks!
carswell August 15, 2013
LOL - I call the forgotten planks raccoon magnets.
islandgirl January 15, 2010
sounds soooo good Can't wait to try
Janneke V. January 14, 2010
I'm hoping for an early spring for many reasons and making this fish on a plank is one of them. This looks like a lot of fun.
mariaraynal January 14, 2010
Congrats! Very happy to see this is a finalist!!
MissGinsu January 5, 2010
Looks good. I know this trick works a treat with salmon fillets as well, so if you can't find a whole fish, that's another option.
aargersi January 6, 2010
Absolutely! I do that a lot too - I layer the onion tomato etc on top to keep the fish nice and moist ....
randirossman January 14, 2010
I've tasted Abbie's salmon on planks -- Delish!
ellenl January 4, 2010
Thanks SO much for the great idea of buying the planks at Home Depot!
mariaraynal January 4, 2010
Great recipe and smart tips.
TasteFood January 4, 2010
I have always wanted to try and cook with a plank, and was just given a cedar plank as a gift. Thanks for your tips and recipe!
aargersi January 4, 2010
don't forget the spray bottle :-)
NakedBeet January 14, 2010
If you wanted to do this in the winter....without the grill, could you put the plank in the oven, in a roasting pan, would it impart the same smoking flavors, or do you need an open environment?
aargersi January 14, 2010
I think it needs to be done outside because you really need that sucker smoking, and for that you need fire ... I am afraid you would set off your alarm!