Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwich

Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt
Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt

Judging by the bug bites, dirt under their nails and their olive skin deepening to a color much like browned butter I say that we’ve been doing summer right; according to the unwritten rules of childhood summers. They’ve spent evenings camping (with more to come), sat out by countless fires, had their (almost) fill of s’mores, shot bb guns at magic hour, plucked peaches straight from the tree then consumed them until more dirt clung to their sticky hands and faces. And that was all just last weekend.

While my coffee sat brewing this morning, before the 4 minute timer signaled the time for the plunge, I stood at the fridge with pen in hand eager to mark off the items on our summer to-do list. “Only three items to check off?! But we’ve been so busy.” At first I felt a tinge of disappointment for the paintings I’ve yet to paint, the swim lessons we’ve yet to complete, the water taxi to West Seattle we’ve yet to take and the meals I’ve yet to teach the kids. But then I stopped myself because first of all, although the PR pitches and Back-to-School sales announce the impending start to school season and subsequently fall, it’s only the beginning of August which means there is much more summer to be had. More importantly I refuse to let some unmarked boxes on a to-do list that I created when I had very little idea of what the summer had in store determine the success or demise of these sun-filled days. The list was created not as a religious chart of must-do’s but as an idea generator on those days when we feel a little lost. It was to give our summer direction. But I don’t need a list to tell me (or not tell me) that we’ve done and are doing summer right.

I’m not much of a planner but having three kids has taught me that planning is no longer something I can caste off because it doesn’t come naturally to me, oh no, we have no choice but to plan. But whenever possible I still like to hold those plans with open hands free to alter them slightly or throw them to the wind if the day asks for it. I do love the satisfaction of marking things off of the plan, so much so that sometimes I’ll write things on my daily to-do list that I’ve already accomplished just so I can put a big gratifying check next to it. But I refuse to let that satisfaction rule the success of our day. I don’t want to say no to something because it wasn’t on the list. Life doesn’t work that way.


Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt


There are still things that I’d like to do that sit unmarked on our list of summer to-do’s but I’ll use them as motivation rather than law. Today I’m thinking we’ll cross off “have a lemonade stand”  but if a picnic to the beach seems a better way to spend the day then we’ll do that instead. Maybe at the end of the summer I’ll write a list of all the things we did do then with great joy check off each and every box next to the item.

No matter how we choose to spend this day, I’m feeling incredibly grateful for these days, I know they are a gift and I intend to treat them as such.

As promised, I have the second in a series of three grilling recipes and videos to share today. I’m so glad there is much more summer left so you have time to enjoy these plank-grilled salmon sandwiches. There’s a bit of grilled bacon in there too, along with a red onion relish that is sweet, tart and tangy with briny capers tangled in between the purple lacy onions.

Enjoy the video and recipe then head on over to Porter & York to order your salmon and have it delivered right to your door.

Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches // Not Without Salt

Also, while you’re clicking around the internet I wanted to point you in the direction of One Kings Lane and the stunning (I almost said beautiful but I used up that word in the salmon video) sale they created around our trip to Charlotte, NC. It’s only available for the next couple of days so go there quickly. (There’s also a video and in it I attempt to play golf. It’s okay to laugh, I do it often.)

Plank Grilled Salmon Sandwiches

Serves 6


2 1/2 pound fillet of King Salmon (available at Porter & York)

salt & pepper

2 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

12 strips bacon

2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

3 cups arugula

6 brioche buns, halved

1/2 cup mayonnaise


cedar plank, soaked for at least an hour


Preheat your grill while you prepare the salmon.

Set the salmon on the soaked plank then season with salt and pepper. Spread the dijon on top then finish with the dark brown sugar.

Grill the salmon for 20 to 30 minutes or until the flesh is firm when touched and flaking.

After 10 minutes on the grill lay the bacon directly onto the grill and cook until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Remove the salmon and bacon from the grill then let the salmon rest while you prepare the burgers.

Slather the brioche buns with mayonnaise.

Cut the salmon into 6 or so burger-size pieces. Place a piece of the salmon on the bottom bun then top with avocado, arugula and bacon. Finish with the red onion relish and then the other half of the bun.


Red Onion Relish

1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons red wine

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¼ cup drained capers


In a medium pan over low heat, add the olive oil.  Add the red onion and salt and saute for 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently until done.

Add the sugar, wine, thyme leaves and vinegar. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is syrupy. Fold in capers. Cool, then store in a jar in the fridge.

*Thanks to Porter & York for sponsoring this post and letting me create whatever I wanted with their gorgeous meat.

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Spicy Garlic Dip for Fresh Vegetables




Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt
Avery Island, LA // Not Without Salt

Avery Island, LA // Not Without Salt

I had the best intentions of sharing these photos from my trip to Louisiana right after I arrived home in March. But you know life sometimes alters the best laid plans and to be honest I’m still finding my rhythm with this space after being away from it in a scattered sort of a way. I poured all of my creative energy into the book last year and it left little to be shared in this space because my desire was to make the book a reflection of the best of my work at this time in my life. I am pretty damn proud of what I, and a team of great people, created but we’ll talk a lot more about all of that soon. For now let’s travel back in time to when I fell in love with Louisiana.

The wispy moss gracefully dangling from the trees, the smell; fresh and damp, the fire engine red platters towering with crawfish and the mayonnaise with TABASCO for dipping, the slender older gentleman who smiled with his eyes and forced me out of my seat and my comfort to get up and dance – I’m so glad he did, and the passion and history laced throughout the long life of TABASCO. I went on this trip with preconceived notions of this product coming from a seemingly large corporation what I found was a pride that has been passed through the generations in the same way the original recipe has. With its prolonged aging in wood barrels, the particulars with the type of pepper grown and the fact that the CEO tastes the mash (mix of aged mashed pepper and salt) from every barrel, every morning, you can understand why this product has thrived for generations and why this family is a passionate and interesting bunch.

tabasco Untitled

I realize that a vegetable platter with such a simple dip as this is an odd way to mark such a bountiful and southern experience but like I mentioned in the last post; if it gets made again and again I feel a certain bit of duty to come and tell you about, no matter how delayed I am.

This dip was born out of a request to bring a “crudite platter” to a dinner party. At first I balked at its simplicity, wanting to contribute more than just vegetables but then I slowly wandered through the market looking for lesser known vegetable tray fixings and came up with something that made me *gasp* at the beauty and be reminded that food, on its own, with little or no manipulation from me is enough. More than enough.

Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt
Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt
Spicy Garlic Dip // Not Without Salt*My trip to Louisiana and this post were sponsored by TABASCO. As always, the words and recipes are mine.


Spicy Garlic Dip for Fresh Vegetables

1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche or sour cream

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2-3 teaspoons Green Jalapeno TABASCO

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, mint, tarragon and dill)

salt and pepper


Combine the creme fraiche, garlic, TABASCO, and fresh herbs in a small bowl. Season to taste.


Use whatever is in season. So many vegetables, when thinly sliced, can be eaten raw and taste sweet, fresh and bright. Beets add an unmistakable color as do radishes. Fennel is sweet and fun to dip its floppy tendrils into the spicy dip. I love endive; bitter and crisp as well as pea shoots which taste faintly of sweet peas, a bit grassy and also fun to manage its vibrant leaves into the creamy bath.

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