Smoky Maple Salmon
Until a few years ago, my experience with cooking fish or seafood was limited to a can of tuna, fish sticks, and the treat of walleye or crappie that my husband would bring home from the occasional fishing trip. Tilapia entered my kitchen over the years, and then some shrimp and cod. Salmon made itself at home primarily after our boys headed for college. They weren’t fond of fish and salmon was especially “fishy” to them. It was “expensive” to me. We weren’t fully aware of how good it was for us.
Then I found this recipe. Easy. Nutritious. Delicious. My oldest son started enjoying fish and seafood while he was in college and now is comfortable cooking shrimp and scallops on his own. Last summer while home from college, my youngest very bravely asked if he could try the salmon I had prepared for my husband and I, and managed to eliminate the planned leftovers from the plate. Bandwagon jumper.
Make a rub, sprinkle it over the salmon fillets, bake, drizzle with maple syrup, bake, and eat. It can be made on the grill instead of in the oven. The temperature of the grill or oven can vary from 300-425 degrees which is a bonus when you are making side dishes at the same time.
Low in calories, very high in protein, vitamins B3 and B12, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a good source of nutrients like selenium and magnesium, salmon is often categorized as “brain food”. Recently, I have been paying more attention to the type of salmon I buy. Living so far removed from any fresh salmon source, there are many options at the grocery stores:
Atlantic, Alaskan King, Sockeye, Pink, etc.
Wild vs. Farmed
There are arguments about additives and nutrient loss in farm raised salmon. Wild salmon can be double the price. The general conclusions of the sources I have read say:
Salmon is great for you.
Wild is preferable than farmed.
Eating salmon you can afford is better than not eating it at all.
Personal Preference: I typically purchase salmon from Costco or the meat counter at our grocery stores. I tend to be a little disappointed with the salmon found in the frozen foods section. The fillets at Costco are big but I cut them into smaller portions, tightly wrap each piece in plastic wrap, place in a ziploc bag and freeze. If wrapped properly, salmon fillets will keep for months in the freezer. To defrost, place wrapped fillets on a plate on the kitchen countertop and allow to thaw 3-4 hours (thicker fillets will take a little longer).
I think the reason this recipe was so successful at our house was that it added a lot of smoky, slightly spicy and sweet flavors to the salmon. Since then, we have expanded our methods of preparing salmon to simply enhance the flavor rather than adding to it (like a simple olive oil, garlic and lemon combination). We have experimented with Asian, blackened, bourbon and greek yogurt recipes (like this one). We like them all. We like variety.
But we keep coming back to this one!
Whether you are a salmon-cooking newbie or just looking to expand your salmon recipe collection, I’m convinced your family and guests will be glad you found your way to this post.
I know I am.