This is a surprisingly rich, luscious preparation that complements the dense flesh of sockeye and coho salmon, both still available this time of the year. Use fresh or thawed fish – fillets work better than cross-cut steaks, as they allow more surface area for the glaze to work its magic. Pair this with roast autumn vegetables, pureed roots or tubers, or creative rice pilafs and light green salads for a cozy, balanced October meal. Serves 3-4.
You will need:
- 1 lb. salmon fillet, boneless and rinsed.
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- soy sauce
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
- ginger – fresh is better, but powdered works, too
- a fresh lime or lemon
- sesame oil (optional)
1. Pour the bourbon into a flat casserole dish or wide-bottomed bowl, and combine it with the brown sugar, garlic, several healthy shakes of soy sauce, ginger (to taste), and a couple shakes of sesame oil. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
2. Nestle the salmon fillet into the marinade and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The salmon should be submerged.
3. Preheat the broiler.
4. When the salmon is ready, lightly oil the bottom of a heavy cast iron skillet (any heavy baking dish will do) and place the salmon skin-side down. Pour the marinade over the top of the fish. At this stage, I like to score the fish into the number of servings I intend to have – it cuts more cleanly raw than cooked.
5. Broil the fish until the salmon is cooked clear through but isn’t overdone. The flesh should remain moist and should flake easily, even in the thickest part. Check periodically for doneness, and baste the fish with the surrounding glaze.
6. When it’s ready to serve, it should come cleanly off the skin with the help of a serving spatula. Drizzle any extra glaze on top, and squeeze a lime wedge over each piece.
The result should be rich, sweet, and slightly caramelized, without overpowering the flavor of the fish. Enjoy!
Thanks to Nick Halpern-Manners for the great photo!
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How much Bourbon?