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Bob Hart’s recipe for salmon on the barbie

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs
Article image for Bob Hart’s recipe for salmon on the barbie


Fish on the barbie can be tricky – even if you to go with Australia’s most popular eating fish, salmon.

It can be a worry if cooked in the conventional way of simply tossing it on the grill, although there is nothing in this process That cannot be overcome with practice. And plenty of EV olive oil, of course.

But there is another foolproof method for cooking salmon that delivers glorious results – the method in which centre fillets of skinned salmon are positioned on  soaked cedar planks. Whereupon magic happens.

Try this:  Purchase cedar planks from your barbecue shop. And yes, they are not cheap, but they are a brilliant product and, although they should be used only once, each plank will deliver six or more meals from that one usage.

Visit your fish-monger and purchase a side of salmon. Ask him to remove the skin, which is essential. You could probably buy six or so skinned, centre-fillets for less, but remember this: the whole sides should work out cheaper by the kilo, and there will be at least enough fish left over, even the off-cuts, for you to make some brilliant burgers the next day.

Now, soak the planks in water for a couple of hours, perhaps on a baking tray, and weight them so they are fully submerged.

Cut and trim the centre fillets of the skinned salmon to your desired thickness. You will need to line them up, crossways, on the plank with space between them. Do so, and then season them with EV olive oil, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste. And you are now  ready to cook.

With your barbecue temperature at around 200C, position the plank at the centre of the grill, running from left to right. Drop the lid.

The fish will take from 10-15 minutes in total to cook, depending on your preference for done-ness. But one more intervention is required:

You need to apply .5cm thick discs of dill compound butter to the fillets when you still 5 minutes away from their being cooked.

This should be made the night before and frozen – rolled into a sausage-shape and wrapped in foil.

To do this, bring 125g if unsalted butter to rom temperature in a bowl and add 1tbs Dijon mustard, 2 decent cloves of garlic, pressed, a squeeze of lemon and 2tbs of chopped, fresh dill. Mash together well, roll into a fat sausage about 4-5cm in  diameter in plastic wrap, freeze, and later replace the plastic with foil and keep frozen until about half an hour before required.

Now, when you lift the lid for the final time and see what has happened to your glorious, green salmon…

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs