Here in Arkansas, there are two types of salmon that we see most in our markets: farm-raised Atlantic salmon and wild-caught sockeye salmon from the Pacific northwest. The flesh of the farm-raised is pale orange and rather mushy, and the flavor leaves a lot to be desired, being mostly a strong fishy taste with very little redeeming qualities. The darker flesh of the sockeye salmon is very tasty, though, and it’s worth the dollar or three more a pound that you’ll pay for it. The texture is firm but tender, and the flavor is subtle and has no hint of the overwhelming fishiness that put a lot of people in these parts off salmon altogether. This recipe is from Alton Brown, and while I generally find Alton’s recipes to be functionally sound but lacking in a lot of spice or flavor, this glazed salmon recipe was a happy exception to that rule. While brown sugar might not be the first flavor you think of when it comes to fish, it really compliments the rich salmon and blends well with the lemon flavor.
Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Citrus Glaze
(from Alton Brown)
- 1 side, skin-on sockeye salmon, pin bones removed. The best thing to use to get those little bones out is a pair of needle-nose pliers – but you keep pliers in the kitchen anyway, right?
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Position a rack in the oven 3 inches from the broiler. Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the salmon on the pan.
Place the sugar, zest, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a small food processor and process for 1 minute or until well combined. Evenly spread the mixture onto the salmon and allow to sit for 45 minutes, at room temperature.
Turn the oven on to the high broiler setting for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, place the salmon into the oven and broil for 6 to 8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the salmon from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately. We paired ours with some haricots verts and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes – but almost any vegetable you can think of goes well with this fish. Enjoy!