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Dinners

Planked Maple-Glazed Trout and Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Mar 14, 2013

Everybody has their own "tipoff" that spring is coming. For some people, it's Groundhog Day (which I still think of as the dead of winter). For others, it's when baseball pitchers and catchers report for duty. Here in Southern Ontario, a sure sign of spring is the Maple Leafs being eliminated from the playoff race (ouch, low blow - sorry Leaf fans!).

For me, the first sign of spring is signing my son's permission form for the sugar bush class trip. Spain has their "running of the bulls." We have our "running of the sap." Theirs might be a little more exciting, but ours is certainly tastier. There is just something so "Canadian" about all things maple syrup. So Canadian, that it reminds me of a story I want to share with you. I was chatting with a German chef who is the brother of one of my close friends. I was hosting him at The Good Earth, which was a very local, "earth-to-table" establishment. We were discussing the strength of our local ingredients, and he shared a story of meeting the Canadian contingent for a culinary competition held in Germany. I asked about their food as I was very interested in how Canadian chefs represented us internationally. The chef explained, with great amusement, that "they made beautiful and delicious food ... then they poured maple syrup over everything! Lobster bisque - then maple syrup! Roast quail - maple syrup! Everything maple syrup!" I was quietly thankful that no maple trees were harmed in the making of my lunch that day. I guess there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing."

Having said that, maple syrup is still one of our great ingredients. If you're a purist, try pure Canadian maple syrup on my blueberry buttermilk pancakes. I happen to love it with sourdough French toast (drooooool), and Anna Olsen has an absolutely wonderful recipe for maple butter tarts in her book, Sugar. Lately, however, I've been using maple syrup to add some sweetness to savoury dishes.

Here we go.

Planked Maple Glazed Trout

You'll need ...

  • 1 untreated cedar plank
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley (dill can also be used)
  • 2 sides rainbow trout
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do ...
1. Soak the plank in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, combine the maple syrup, mustard, oil and parsley.
2. Place the trout in a dish, and pour maple syrup mixture over the trout. Allow to marinate for the duration of the plank soak.
3. Preheat your barbecue grill to medium heat.
4. When the cedar plank is good to go, remove the trout from the dish, and place the trout on the plank. Drizzle the marinade that's left in the dish over the fish.

5. Place the plank on the grill and close the lid. STAY CLOSE BY!


Keep the lid closed for the first 5 minutes - don't check on it; it will be fine. After 5 minutes, you can peek. The trout should take about 8 to 12 minutes to cook through.


The combination of the cedar smoke infusion and the maple syrup will make you feel like an early settler! Enjoy.

You should probably serve this fish with a salad, like this one ...Apple, Arugula and Spinach Salad with Maple Pecan Dressing.

You'll need ...

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 shallot (sliced into rings)
  • 1 apple slices
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do ...

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, vinegar and mustard. Whisk.
2. While whisking, slowly add the oils. Add the pecans, and season with salt and pepper.
3. In another bowl, combine the arugula, spinach, shallots and apple slices. Dress with the vinaigrette and toss well.
4. Serve with planked maple-glazed trout!

Cheffer's Inside Scoop

  • When cooking with maple syrup, it is perfectly acceptable (and financially wiser) to use a lower grade syrup.
  • The glaze will also work very well with salmon. Trout or Arctic char (which I call expensive trout) are a bit leaner.
  • Plank cooking is actually a very tidy cooking grilling tool, especially for fish, which can often be a sticky, flaky mess.
  • Maple vinaigrette is also great with other bitter greens like radicchio and endive, as the sweetness is the perfect spoil for the bitter greens.

Patrick Engel has been cooking professionally for 15 years. After graduating from George Brown College in Toronto, and training in the kitchens of Rodney's Oyster House and Bymark Restaurant, Patrick relocated to Niagara's wine region, working at Inn on the Twenty, followed by six years as resident chef instructor at The Good Earth Cooking School. Patrick is currently the chef at Hospice Niagara's Stabler Centre and associate chef at The Garrison House in Niagara-on-the Lake. Patrick lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife, Marnie, and their two boys, Charlie (7) and Johnny (5).

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