Sublime Salmon . . . and so Easy

28 Mar

I hesitate to share this recipe because it is so bleeding impressive. As a hostess, I look like a magician when I serve this salmon dish. It can be baked in the oven or grilled. If I share it with all of you . . . one of my best little secrets is out.

Maple Cured Salmon with Jasmine rice and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus

Maple Cured Salmon with Jasmine rice and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus

Admittedly, Maple Cured Salmon isn’t MY recipe. I found it in The Kingston Whig Standard, attributed to Chef Michael Smith (when he was working in Vancouver, perhaps?). It included a Mustard Chardonnay Cream sauce, but I found the sauce detracted from the salmon. When I’m serving local asparagus as a side dish for the salmon, I have made, and enjoyed, the sauce as a dip for the asparagus.

Sea salt, salmon fillets and maple syrup.

Sea salt, salmon fillets and maple syrup.

With this year’s longer spring, the maple syrup harvest in Eastern Canada looks promising. Yet at the price of maple syrup, this salmon recipe is a splurge. You can save a shekel or two by using cooking-grade syrup with good results. It’s the natural sugars in the maple syrup that offer curative or preservative properties. A good long marinating period means the fish requires less time in the oven. Roasted on high heat of the oven, the salmon comes out with a slightly caramelized crust and a very moist flesh.

Marinate in a single layer, tightly sealed.

Marinate in a single layer, tightly sealed.

The trick is remembering to marinate the fish 24 hours ahead. This week, I served it with jasmine rice and roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus for sides.

MAPLE CURED SALMON                                                                      Serves: 2 [4]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup/250 mL  [2 cups/500 mL]                  maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp/15 mL   [2 Tbsp/30 mL]                    sea salt
  • 2 — 6 oz/175 g each [4 — 6 oz/175 g]            salmon fillets

Instructions:

1.     24 hours before cooking the salmon, stir sea salt into maple syrup until dissolved.

Lie flat to marinate all of salmon.

Lie flat to marinate all of salmon.

2.     Rinse and pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towelling. Place fillets in a single layer in a shallow dish just large enough to snuggly hold all the fish (or use the appropriate sized zipper-closing freeze bag). Pour syrup-salt mixture over the fish, covering tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

3.     The following day, preheat oven to 400 F. Line a shallow baking pan or sheet with foil. Set a rack in the pan and spray them with cooking oil.

Prepare the side dishes:

4.     Put rice and water in rice cooker (quantities according to your package and manufacturers’ instructions).

Jasmine rice in cooker.

Jasmine rice in cooker.

5.     Rinse and pat dry one pint of cherry tomatoes. In an 8″ square metal baking pan, toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin-olive oil, a pinch of salt and 2 pinches of black pepper. Place in 400 F oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

6.     Wash and trim woody stems from a medium bunch of asparagus. Set aside.

7.     Remove salmon fillets from maple brine, setting them skin-side down on the rack of the foil-lined baking sheet. Allow the marinade to drain for a few minutes.

Remove fillet from brine and allow to drain on roasting rack.

Remove fillet from brine and allow to drain on roasting rack.

8.     Remove roasting tomatoes from the oven. Add the asparagus spears and another tablespoon of EVOO. Stir well and return the pan to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus.

Roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus.

Roast Salmon:

9.      Place the salmon roasting pan into the oven. Depending upon the fillets’ thickness, roast from 5 – 7 minutes. In my oven (and with thick fillets) it took 10 minutes to cook. Salmon is cooked when it flakes when prodded with a thin-bladed knife. The centre of the salmon may seem uncooked, it will be so juicy and moist.

Slightly caramelized crust on finished salmon.

Slightly caramelized crust on finished salmon.

10.     I served the rice drizzled with the oily juices from the roasted tomatoes and asparagus. Enjoy with a glass of Chardonnay.

Sublime Salmon

Sublime Salmon

MUSTARD CHARDONNAY CREAM SAUCE

In a small saucepan,  place 1 cup (250 mL) Chardonnay, 1/2 cup (125 mL) whole grain mustard and 1 cup (250 mL) cream to a boil.

Reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. The sauce will reduce in volume and thicken. Keep the sauce hot until the (salmon) lightly cooked asparagus spears are ready to serve. Just before serving, stir 1 cup (250 mL) chopped chives into the sauce and swirl to combine.

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6 Responses to “Sublime Salmon . . . and so Easy”

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