In its modern Northwestern form, a wooden plank placed in an oven became a natural and fragrant baking sheet for cooking fish. Small whole fish such as trout, char, walleye, bass, salmon, and even lake perch are excellent for planking, especially cedar planking. They get the flavor of the wood plank on one side and a burnished golden color and smoky flavor on the other. Indirect heat is used to slowly cook the fish through. This method can be used with fish fillets and steaks, too.
Cooking on a plank slows down the cooking of fish compared to baking at the same temperature. The fish will cook slowly in the heat, absorbing the flavors of the plank. Always make sure that you soak your planks in lightly salted water for 2 to 3 hours before you’re ready to cook.