Monday, October 29, 2012

Recipe: Brown Sugar Whisky Glazed Salmon

What would you try if you had no fear? Fear is not your enemy. It is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow. – Steve Pavlina

Spicy and sweet, with hints of whisky goodness.

This recipe isn't particularly adventurous, but sometimes you have to be reckless to discover better ways to do things. The way things are isn’t necessarily the way things always have to be. You can take monumental chances, or small ones, like in the kitchen.

Because of trying something different I have a new favourite way to cook both fish and chicken. If I hadn’t tried it I would still be cooking them the same old way I always did. 

Both, as well as beef and pork, benefit from being browned in a pan and then finished off in the oven. It seems to somehow lock in their natural juices.

The victim this night was salmon. As you can imagine, I found it on sale at one of the local groceries.

The rest of the ingredients I had on hand. The clever chef will always use what’s in their pantry to give interest and variation to their meals. For example, I have a 375 ml bottle of Johnnnie Walker whisky in my pantry. I don’t drink it. It’s for cooking, and it seems to be lasting forever. 

The salmon after marinating.
I’ve been dreaming up ways to include it in all kinds of things. It has found its way into this marinade as well as some chocolate cookies I made a couple weeks ago.

Sites that help you search by ingredients
But what if you don’t have that combination of bravado and stupidity that other chefs have in the kitchen? Well, there are sites that will give you a helping hand.

Most allow you to search by what you have in your refrigerator. Some to look for are:
Recipe Matcher
Super Cook
Not Beans Again
and many more.

Just do a quick search. You'll be amazed at what sites you can find.

Usually you start with one ingredient and then narrow down from there. They certainly help you use up what’s in your fridge. The result is decreasing your waste and increasing your culinary repertoire.

But what about the sauces, glazes and such? Well, for the most part you’re on your own. Of course a recipe that has a sauce will have the directions listed as part of it.

If you have a well stocked pantry you already have a leg up.

Be brave, and take a chance. Try something new.

Seared on the bottom and ready for the oven.
Brown Sugar Whisky Glazed Salmon
Prep: 30 min  |  Cook: 20 min  |  Serves 4
Salmon portions for four, skin on
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp whisky
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fried ginger powder
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together all the ingredients except for the salmon and vegetable oil in a small bowl. Whisk until the brown sugar is mostly dissolved.

Pour the marinade into a zip-lock bag and add the salmon. Rub the salmon in the bag to coat well and let marinate on the counter for one half hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the oil in an oven proof pan. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place in the hot pan.

Let the fish fry until you can see it has turned opaque half way up the sides. The skin should also easily release from the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and let bake for about 15 minutes for fish that is 1” thick. It may take more or less time, so check.

Check for doneness by inserting a fork in the thickest part and gently twisting. The fish will flake and be opaque down through to the centre.

Serve with side dishes of your choice.


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