One of the many beauties of salmon is it’s so amenable to different seasonings and cooking methods. Glazing it with a sweet bourbon sauce intensifies the flavour and makes its luscious pink flesh melt in your mouth. Add some superb sides to round out a memorable meal sure to get rave reviews.
You can quickly saute salmon fillets to perfection, poach them to a silky texture, or pop them under the broiler or onto a hot backyard grill for a crispy exterior. The bourbon glaze can be modified with different amounts of bourbon and sugar, depending on your affection for the liquor and your sweet tooth.
Broiling or grilling the salmon imparts a crispy exterior that complements the thick glaze.
Serving size 4
- 3/4 cup bourbon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 (6 ounce) skinless salmon fillets
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- Cooking spray or cooking oil
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, green and white parts
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- Combine bourbon, brown sugar, mustard, garlic, ginger, honey, lime or lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan and stir well.
- Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for eight to 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the broiler on high for five minutes or prepare charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat.
- If using the broiler, line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat it with cooking spray. If using a grill, thoroughly clean the hot grate with a wire brush, carefully wipe away residue, and use a paper towel to lightly coat with a light cooking oil such as vegetable or canola.
- Pat the fillets dry. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet or on the grill.
- Cook for five to six minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Do not overcook. When the edge of the salmon easily flakes under the tines of a dinner fork, it’s done.
- Remove from heat and generously brush with the glaze.
- Sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds and serve. Pass glaze on the side.
Salmon side dishes
Salmon is the star of the meal, but it needs a supporting cast to accent its flavour and texture. Stick with simple slaws or salads with light, tart dressings that don’t compete with the bourbon glaze. If you’re grilling the salmon, take advantage of the fire to cook fresh asparagus spears, parboiled and skewered baby red potatoes, fresh pineapple spears, or mango and papaya kebabs. Keep pastas and grains light and barely seasoned with fresh lemon juice, toasted walnuts or pine nuts, and Italian flat leaf parsley.
Since salmon is so rich, light desserts are the perfect final course. Light fruit sorbets or Italian ices garnished with fresh mint leaves are satisfying palate cleansers. For a more elegant ending, fill stemmed glasses with fresh strawberries and pour champagne or sparkling wine over them.
Whatever menu you choose, be sure to vary the tastes of the sides and keep the flavours light to accent the depth and opulence of the rich salmon and sweet bourbon glaze. Keep beverages simple and light by serving dry white wine, classic martinis, lager beer or light beer such as Molson 67 with the meal.