Maple Lemon Seared Salmon

Around when I first started working where I do now, there was a year when there were funds for healthy incentives in the workplace, and my office spent part of it on a subscription to Cooking Light. This recipe is from one of those issues, the April edition of Cooking Light, 2009. Every time I make this, I wonder that I don’t make it more often, as it cooks up so darn fast, you need to have your salad and starch staple ready before you even start pan searing it. It’s in the “Less than 30 Minutes” folder, and it’s even good for you!

Salmon with Maple-Lemon Glaze

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I am often lazy and use bottled lemon juice..)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray (I usually skip this one since my skillet is pre-conditioned)

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add fish to bag; seal. Refrigerate 10 minutes, turning bag once.
3. Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute.
4. Heat a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. I use a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish to pan, skin side up, cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over. Brush marinade evenly over fish. Broil 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

*I use the same amount of marinade whether I’m making one little fillet, or a larger, hulking one. The king salmon last night was not as flavorful as the sockeye I think we usually get, so keep in mind that the type does matter for the taste.

Note: Careful not to overcook! I originally misread this recipe to indicate cooking both sides for 3 minutes, then broiling, when in fact it meant for you to put the salmon in the oven to broil directly after the first side is on the pan 3 minutes. Well, maybe everyone else is smart enough to have that figured out the first time.. Anyway, it was a relatively simple but delicious dinner atop the usual spring mix salad with craisins and walnuts, with a small side of quinoa. It also goes well with a fresh side of those charred green beans I posted about in December. Don’t degrade it with some lame defrosted peas like in that Cooking Light link’s photo! Boooo.

There were so few steps, I only had one collage for you!
There were so few steps, I only had one collage for you!

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
1 of 5 stars
I’ve made this plenty of times since 2009, it’s in the regular rotation. However, I haven’t consistently gotten just the right crunchy glaze on combined with extra fresh fish, so that part is always a delightful novelty to eat.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100% See above. Out here in Seattle, there’s no shortage of salmon to buy -although much of it seems to come from Alaska- but I still have yet to try another recipe that’s trumped this one. Let me know if you find one. I pretty much stock cider vinegar in my house solely for this recipe, and the maple syrup is probably used more for this than the rare waffle. I guess part of the reason I don’t make it more is that when you have so much fresh fish out here, it’s blasphemy not to get fresh fish, which means a store visit and cooking the day of, and I’m not so willing to do that. On the other hand, the cast iron pan often spits little bits of oil at me, and I say it’s totally worth the occasional burn for some tasty caramelized fish.

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