I almost don’t know which is more exciting: unwrapping a birthday gift or breaking the seal on a brown-paper clad pound of wild-caught salmon.
Even simply dressed [think salt, pepper, and lemon juice], salmon’s a showstopper in its brilliant orangey-red. It doesn’t actually need any accessories – it’s already the belle of the ball – but just in case, there’s a whole line-up waiting in the wings:
- Dill and horseradish
- Brown sugar and mustard
- Honey and teriyaki
- Sesame and ginger
- Herbs and breadcrumbs
- Cumin and Ancho chili powder
- Capers and crème fraîche
- Pomegranate and molasses
- Tomato and garlic
- Mango and avocado
- Mint and yogurt
- Lime and agave
- Maple and bourbon
I don’t want to fawn over salmon’s versatility for too long…but what other fish is equally stunning steamed, baked, pan-fried, grilled, and broiled?
I don’t have much experience using three of those five techniques [I’m most comfortable with baking and pan-frying], but I think I have more than enough experience eating to make up for it.
Steamed salmon, when it’s fresh, can taste the richest of all; plank-grilled salmon can retain just a tantalizing touch of smoke; broiled salmon, when it’s done right, can be crispy-skinned on the outside and a buttery soft pink on the inside.
But am I the only one afraid of her broiler? In college, the broiler was little more than a surefire way to evacuate my entire apartment complex. When I stand in front of a broiler, it’s reduced to one setting: not-done-not-done-not-done-oooh-kinda-close…BURNT!
Unfortunately [or fortunately], those angry red coils can do a really good job of turning soggy gray-black scales into a most enjoyable, salty, crunchy, wafer-thin cracker.
Lately I’ve been feeling like a salmon fillet without a crispy skin is like a piece of cake without any frosting. It’s not critical, but the presentation somehow feels incomplete without it.
This recipe is a compromise of sorts: it doesn’t yield a REALLY crispy skin [we’ll have to tackle that in full another day], but it does allow you to get acquainted with your broiler.
The salmon gets cloaked in orange marmalade [I used low sugar and didn’t miss the real stuff], soy sauce, salt, black pepper, and garlic.
Then it bakes in the oven for a short period at a relatively high temperature, before it gets a quick blast under the broiler. Cross your fingers and DON’T BLINK! Be extra careful if you use the top rack in your oven – the fish will be done in almost no time at all. I sprinkled green onions on top just before serving, and found the sweet and sour glaze hardly needed the spritz of lemon juice at all.
I’ll admit I felt about as confident using the broiler as I felt about using soy sauce and marmalade – but I can’t rave enough about this pairing. The glaze is incredibly quick to throw together, and after a single bite, my mom and I agreed this was a recipe to save.
Recipe [Serves Two]:
Just shy ¼ cup orange marmalade
1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 (4-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
2 lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Combine marmalade, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Arrange salmon fillets, skin sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Brush fish fillets evenly with half of marmalade mixture.
Bake fish fillets at 450 degrees F for 4 minutes.
Heat broiler to high (do not remove fish from oven); broil fish a little over 2 minutes.
Spoon remaining marmalade mixture onto center of fillets.
Broil fish an additional 2 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
Sprinkle fish evenly with green onions; serve with lemon wedges.
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine [March 2013]