February 13, 2011

Glazed Salmon

If you don't subscribe to Cook's Illustrated, online or in print, you're doing your kitchen a disservice. I have to thank these food scientists for greatly improving the way I treat poor, defenseless salmon. Before this method came into my life, a fire alarm or two had been known to cry out in protest as the glaze burned away on the pan, while the salmon remained undercooked. Ouch.

And did you know? This method works with really any type of glaze. I'm pretty sure the key is the cornstarch, and fairly viscous sauce with which to glaze. Nothing liquidy here to get your glaze on.

Pomegranate & Balsamic Glazed Salmon
Cook's Illustrated (liberated from behind their firewall, whoops!)
Serves 4

Pomegranate & Balsamic Glaze (Thai variation listed below)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
4 center-cut skin-on salmon fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each (equal size is key)
Ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oil of your choice

1. For the Glaze: Whisk glaze ingredients together in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

2. For the Salmon: Adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine brown sugar, salt, pinch of ground pepper and cornstarch in small bowl. Pat salmon dry with paper towels and sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over top of flesh side of salmon, rubbing to evenly distribute.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh-side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.

3. Remove skillet from heat and spoon glaze evenly over salmon fillets. Transfer skillet to oven (or transfer fillets to a rimmed baking sheet if your skillet isn't ovenproof).

4. Cook until center of thickest part of fillets are still translucent when cut into with paring knife and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer fillets to individual plates or platter, and serve.


Thai peanut glaze
This is a formula that I discovered in a book that smells like chicken. It makes a pretty amazing chicken satay, maybe I'll publish that this summer when grill time resumes. 
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- chopped fresh ginger
- juice of half a lime

No need to put this on the stove, but you may want to microwave the peanut butter to make it easier to stir in the other ingredients. Prep the salmon the exact same way, and paste this on before finishing in the oven.