Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Walkin' the Plank...

Callison's Seasoned Grilling PlanksI will admit that I wasn't very positive about this week's review. When I was at the Fancy Food Show and stopped at the Callison's Fine Foods booth to sample their Seasoned Skewer product I was certainly intrigued. I reviewed those products a few weeks ago and they more than met my expectations of what I experienced at the food show. As I was leaving the booth the folks there handed me some of their Seasoned Grilling Planks.

I didn't give it a lot of thought. Grilling or roasting on planks is OK but I like my fish to have grill or sear marks so I seldom use this method. It's been around for ages. You simply soak a plank of wood in water and then put it on your grill or in the oven with the fish or meat resting on top. Whatever food you choose will pick up the flavor of the wood but it's much more subtle than smoking.

The folks at Callisons have seasoned planks similar to their seasoned skewers. I tried three flavors and am happy to tell you that they are pretty darn good. I've worked with three of the flavors now. The package calls for soaking the planks for 30 to 60 minutes and then placing them in an oven preheated to 350F with the food on top.

I used the Ginger Mango (labeled as "medium" hot) with salmon filets and the fish was great. The instructions say to cook "presentation side" down at first and then turn. I did this and on the turn the surface was a nice seared color. The aroma was great. They directions also say to discard the skin before flipping. Not on your life! The skin's the best part, and I'm not sure why they say this because the fish was great with the skin left on.

I had the salmon with broccoli spears that had been steamed for about 10 minutes and then cooked on the Lemon Garlic Dill planks. They were great also. I used them and the Mango Dill Planks with eggplant that had been sliced into eighths and lightly steamed and they were really great.

The "hot" Cajun seasoned plank I saved for use with a piece of top round for a Cajun London Broil and this was fantastic. Likewise, catfish filets turned out to be delicious. Wowsers!

The fatal flaw is the price at about $15.00 for two planks. That's pretty expensive and the skewers they sell are a much better value. The planks are not all that big and you could get enough veggies or fish to serve two on each plank. You could get a larger piece of beef that might serve four on a plank. Maybe a good product to have around for that last minute dinner party but not really for everyday use.

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Dr. Gourmet

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