I remember when cooking fish at home seemed like a scary adventure above my skill set, but I’m glad I took the risk and started learning how to make it myself. The only real challenge I’ve ever had with cooking fish is managing my own clumsiness. I remember after one stressful week I was making this dish and used a new silicone oven mitt to grab the skillet out of the oven, slipped, burned myself, and dropped the entire fish supper on the floor. It was not one of my cooking moments of joy and sadly I haven’t learned how to cook without injury, but thankfully the risk is always worth the reward.
If you are nervous about cooking fish (unrelated to general clumsiness), salmon is a great starter fish. It isn’t delicate like some white fish and when you buy a good product (like fresh wild salmon), it really doesn’t need much to taste great. I prefer to sear my salmon to get a nice crispy top, but if you are new to cooking fish this supper also taste great when simply oven roasted.
This recipe was inspired by a version my aunt, an amazing cook who I’ve learned from, made for me a long time ago. I didn’t have the recipe anywhere, so with a little experimenting in the kitchen I was able to re-create my own version at home. While adding sugar to your fish might sound a little strange (I remember my local fish monger gave me a funny look when I shared this recipe), I promise it is a very tasty combination. The brown sugar just glazes the fish in the last few minutes of cooking so it doesn’t taste too sweet but just adds flavor to the crusty top. The recipe has only a handful of simple ingredients, so next time you are at the seafood market- just pick up some fresh salmon, you probably already have the rest in your kitchen.
Ingredients: (serves two- you can adapt it easily for more)
- About 3/4 pound center cut wild salmon
- Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt/8 grinds of Fresh Black Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Water
- Take the fish out before you start the recipe and let it come up to room temperature for better searing
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
- Mix the brown sugar and water together until thick but pourable, set aside
- Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe pan until it is well coated (I like stainless steel for this both because it is oven safe and the fish sears nicely) and the pan is visually hot
- Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the fish and sprinkle evenly with kosher salt/fresh black pepper
- Once the skillet is very hot, carefully lay the fish down skin side up
- Sear, on medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until the top is browned. You will know the fish is ready to turn because it should be fairly easy to flip. I’ve made the mistake of trying to turn it before it was ready and sadly lost the nice crusty top to my fish, so let the fish tell you when it is ready
- Glaze the top of the seared salmon with the brown sugar mixture
- Add the entire skillet with the fish now skin side down in the oven to finish cooking, only about 6-10 minutes. The final cooking time depends on the thickness (not pounds) of the fish and how you like your fish done. I like mine still a little pink of the middle, so I tend to air on the shorter side here and can always put it back in the oven if it needs more time.
- Most importantly, keep your eye on Gluten Free Supper loving cats! (See Alana above)