Orange-You-Glad-I-Said Broiled Salmon

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.

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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.

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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.

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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]:

Ingredients:

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

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions

2 lemon wedges

Method:

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]

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