Wow, it seems that the months are just flying by! Wasn’t it yesterday that we were trying to adjust to a new year? Now we’re planting gardens, mowing grass and pulling out summer clothing. How in the world did that happen?
Thinking back to January, reminded me of the Café Survey 2016 we put out for our readers (you!) to give valuable input. We were overwhelmed with so many kind and encouraging responses, but also really appreciated the constructive criticism. Some things you suggested we began to implement immediately and others we’re working on over time. One of the more popular requests was for more…
“dinner-party-quality, everyday-easy recipes”. It’s funny, because as much as I love to cook, I’m right there with you on this one. Who doesn’t love a dinner that looks gorgeous, tastes crazy-delicious and doesn’t take hours to prepare? I’m not into that kind of entertaining anymore, the kind that would take me a hours on end to prepare for. I just don’t have the time these days, and I’m quite certain (from the survey) that most of you don’t either.
So with that introduction, let me tell you about this salmon recipe I’ve been serving quite frequently lately. It checks both the boxes – definitely delicious, dinner party quality and minimal preparation time. The only real prep is preparing the sweet, sticky, spicy, gingery glaze/drizzling sauce and that’s easy-peasy. Simply combine all the ingredients; honey, bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, whole grain mustard, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes in a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, till fragrant and syrupy. That’s it!
A half hour before dinner, make some rice (it’s wonderful over quinoa too!) and prep the asparagus. Haricots Verts (those long, skinny French green beans) would be another fabulous side for this entrée. About 10 minutes before dinner, preheat the oven, brush the salmon with half of the sweet, spicy sauce and broil until deeply colored and nicely caramelized on both sides. Drizzle a little of the remainder sauce over the salmon when serving.
Besides a dinner entrée, I’ve also served this Honey Bourbon Glazed Salmon in a salad with an Asian dressing and lots of beautiful greens. You could add julienne carrots, cucumber slices, snow peas, sesame seeds, cashews, peanuts – really whatever you’re in the mood for! For the salad, sometimes I leave the salmon whole and other times I’ll break it into chunks after broiling. However I’ve served it, it’s always been very well received.
So invite some friends and have a casual – or fancy dinner party. This Asian-inspired salmon will be perfect for either. Put it on your weekly rotation too, it’s easy and quick enough to serve on a busy workday and, at the same time, it’s healthy and super delicious to boot. Sounds to me like a win, win, win, win! What do you think?
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup bourbon whisky
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely minced or grated fresh ginger
- 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
- ¼-½ teaspoons red pepper flakes (crushed red pepper)*
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- For the salmon:
- 4 6-ounce salmon filets
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh lime juice
- Line 2 sheet pans with foil for easy clean up. Spray both with cooking spray or rub lightly with oil.
- Combine honey, bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium but maintain a steady boil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. You'll need to take pan off of the burner and let the bubbling settle down to check it. Mixture should be syrupy and reduced to about one half. It will get a bit thicker as it cools. You may need to boil it for another minute or two to achieve the syrupy consistency. Add lime juice and stir well to combine. Go ahead and taste it - if you want it spicier, add another pinch or two of red pepper flakes. If making ahead, transfer sauce to a covered container and store at room temperature. If making salmon right away, pour half of this mixture into a small bowl, leave the rest in the pan.
- Preheat oven to high broil. Position an oven rack about 6-7 inches from broiling element. Season salmon lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Brush with sauce on top and sides. Place it on prepared sheet pan and place pan under broiler. Broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to other pan, flipping each fillet to opposite side (This will prevent smoking when you return pan to oven. Otherwise, the broiler tends to burn any sauce that has accumulated on the pan**.) Brush second side with sauce. Return to broiler and cook for 4 minutes. If top is not nicely browned and slightly charred in places, move rack up one level and cook for another 15 seconds to a minute. Watch carefully at this point, checking at 15 second intervals, so that salmon doesn't burn. If salmon pieces vary in size you may have to rearrange them half way through the broiling time or remove them as they are finished. Serve with fresh lime wedges.
- Sauce can be made several hours in advance. When finished cooking, transfer it to a covered jar or container and store at room temperature until ready to use. Just divide in two and use one half for the glaze and the rest for the drizzling sauce.***
- I like to serve this salmon with rice and a green veggie like asparagus or Hari coverts (French green beans). I use a garnish of white and black sesame seeds and some finely sliced chives. You could also use cilantro.
** Believe me, I know this from experience. A dinner party or even a family meal is not fun with a burning smoke aroma and the smoke detector chiming loudly. Our smoke detector actually has a women's voice that says "EMERGENCY, EMERGENCY! Smoke detected on the lower level!" Then the "bells" start ringing... yikes! And that's not even the worst part! Even if Scott isn't at home, he gets warning bells on his iPhone and iPad. I can't get away with a thing! All this to say, trust me - use the two pans!
*** If sauce is made ahead and gets too thick or is boiled too long and gets thick, no problem, just add a teaspoon or two of water and gently reheat. Add more water as needed to achieve syrupy consistency.