This Asian-inspired, Honey Coriander Make-Ahead Salmon is perfect for everyday-easy meals but also makes a fabulous entree for a dinner party.
Several years ago, we did a Café Reader Survey and one of the things most requested by you, our readers, was "easy, dinner party-worthy" salads, meals, desserts, etc. that work well for every day as well as for entertaining. So that's become my mantra, and, though I don't mind spending time in the kitchen, I've come to love "easy, dinner party-worthy" as much as you do. This delicious, make-ahead salmon definitely meets that description!
Lots of taste-testers
I've been testing out this recipe for the past few months and have tweaked it here and there until it's just right. The fishmonger at Whole Foods laughs every time I come in because I keep asking for "the prettiest fillets you have". I've served this delicious, melt-in-your-mouth-tender entree to friends and family numerous times, always to rave reviews. One bite elicits descriptions like, "wow!", "yum!", "delicious!", "amazing!"...
It seems to be a universally appealing dish that goes well with rice, couscous, polenta, mash potatoes and steamed or roasted veggies. It's also wonderful in salads.
As much as I love salmon, I'm not crazy about the aroma that's created as it (or any other fish) cooks on the stovetop. There's also the spatter that comes with searing fish. Not a wonderful thing just before guests arrive or (even worse) while entertaining them.
I love that the brunt of the work for this make-ahead salmon can be done early in the day. Then all that's left to do before dinner is to heat the oven and let the salmon get gloriously glazed. The "fish" aroma will be gone long before the doorbell rings and your kitchen can have that shining clean, no-one-ever-cooks-here appearance when your guests arrive!
30 minutes of prep work
What is the prep work for this Honey Coriander Make-Ahead Salmon? It will take about 30 minutes. There's a simple throw-it-all-in-a jar-and-shake sauce (soy sauce, honey, fresh ginger, coriander, chili garlic sauce and fresh garlic) which is brushed on filets before searing. The salmon is seared in a hot pan then popped into the fridge till just before serving time. The remaining sauce is reduced then refrigerated.
A CIA secret
I learned this wonderful sear-in-advance technique a number of years ago when I took a week-long course at The Culinary Institute of America up in Hyde Park, New York. The instructor mentioned it and I was dumbfounded. "You mean you can sear meat or fish in the morning and then cook it later in the day?" I asked incredulously. He looked at me like I came from Mars. "Of course", he replied. "How do you think we prepare for large events? We start early in the day and finish things off just before serving".
It was a dream come true for me to study at The CIA and I learned so much, but that simple tip about searing was perhaps the most amazing and useful bit of information I picked up. I've applied it on lots of occasions and with numerous recipes and it works perfectly with this delicious make-ahead salmon.
What kind of salmon to buy?
Salmon is super healthy as it's loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, bone-protecting selenium, and much more. But it can be confusing at the market because there are a variety of options. The USDA requires grocery stores to list the origin and method of production so it's really helpful to check the labels. Here is a great article from Cooking Light on How to Buy the Best Salmon at the Grocery Store.
I don't have a specialty fish market nearby so I like to purchase my salmon at Whole Foods. I like their fresh fillets which are sustainably farm-raised in Norway. I questioned the distance before I purchased this salmon the first time, as it seemed a long way for the fish to travel. But the fishmonger promised me that it was wonderful. I've found it to be consistently fresh and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I've also used frozen wild salmon for this recipe with good results.
Want to serve a healthy, delicious dinner for family or friends? Make your shopping list and put this Honey Coriander Make-Ahead Salmon on your menu. Everyone will be SO happy you did!
Café Tips for making this Honey Coriander Make-Ahead Salmon
- While you can definitely make this dish ahead for entertaining, it's also fine to do all the steps together if you just want to get dinner on the table quickly. Either way works!
- Coriander is the seed from which cilantro is grown. When it's ground, it has a wonderful, fresh citrusy flavor. If you're not a fan of cilantro, no worries, they are not similar in taste. You can find ground coriander in the spice section at most larger grocery stores. You can also buy the whole seeds and crush your own (the aroma is amazing!) with a mortar and pestle.
- Be sure to use low sodium soy sauce in this recipe as the sauce will become too salty once it's reduced if you use the regular variety.
- I like salmon filets that are about 4-5-ounces in size. Although incredibly healthy, salmon is a rich fish and most people appreciate a modest serving size.
- You can make a double or triple portion of the sauce and freeze it for the next time you make this recipe.
- What to serve with this Honey Coriander Make-Ahead Salmon? Our favorite sides are jasmine rice and a simple salad of cucumbers and red onion in rice vinegar with a pinch of sugar and salt. It's really pretty and a nice contrast to the starchy rice and the rich salmon. Steamed or roasted broccoli is also nice as are steamed snow peas or sugar snap peas. I've also served it over polenta which is delicious. Bok choy would be nice as would roasted green beans. Lots of choices!
- You can use either skinless or skin-on salmon fillets for this recipe although I do think skin-on filets stay a little moister. If you use the skin-on variety, use a thin-bladed metal spatula to separate the skin from the fillet when removing from the pan.
- Look for thicker (taller) salmon filets vs the wide, flat ones. The thicker filets take a little longer to get done, giving them more time to get a crisp, golden brown exterior.
- This recipe makes enough sauce to brush each salmon filet before cooking and to drizzle each with several teaspoons before serving. If you like lots of sauce, feel free to double the ingredient amounts.
- The best way to tell when salmon is done is with an instant thermometer. It should read 145˚F when inserted into the thickest part of the filet.
Thought for the day:
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
This Asian-inspired, Honey Coriander Make-Ahead Salmon is perfect for everyday-easy meals, but also makes a fabulous entree for a dinner party.
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 4 5-ounce salmon filets with or without skin
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium-size bowl and whisk well.
Place the salmon filets and ¼ cup of the marinade in a large ziplock bag and turn bag to coat salmon with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 12 hours).
Remove salmon to a plate and discard marinade. Season salmon lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the salmon (skin side up if using skin-on salmon) and sear for about 1-2 minutes or until you have a deep, golden crust. Using tongs, flip salmon onto sides and sear the sides for about 30 seconds each. Transfer salmon to a clean plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake (up to 8 hours).
Strain reserved sauce through a fine strainer into the sauté pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced and beginning to get a bit syrupy. Transfer sauce to a small bowl or glass jar, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake salmon.
30 minutes before dinner, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a sheet pan (or smaller shallow pan) with foil and place salmon on the pan with skin side down (if using salmon with skin, if not place unseared side down).
Brush salmon lightly with glaze and bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven and brush with a bit more of the glaze. Continue baking for another 8-12 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 140-145˚F. (Thicker filets will take a bit longer, thinner pieces will be done sooner.)
Slide a metal spatula just above the skin and remove salmon leaving the skin on the foil. Drizzle with a bit more of the glaze when serving.
NOTE: Salmon can be baked directly after searing if desired. Just preheat the oven to 350˚F before searing the salmon and skip the refrigeration. Proceed with the baking instructions in step 6.
See Café Tips above for further instructions and detailed tips.
Serving suggestions: Great with jasmine rice, couscous, polenta, mashed potatoes or in a salad.