Salmon is a such a wonderful, healthy food, and this is a dish I have been making for years now. I got the recipe idea from Bob Blumer, who is known as ”The Surreal Gourmet.” However, I have significantly altered the recipe to give it my own twist.
Blumer's original recipe just called for maple syrup and soy sauce in the marinade. I tried that, but I thought it turned out too sweet and candied. I felt it was missing some spice and a certain zippiness to balance out the sweetness.
So, over the years I have tinkered with the recipe, and I think I have something pretty good. I mixed in some balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a little bit of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce to add a smoky, spicy element. I also started dusting the top of the fillet with a little ancho chile powder, along with the cracked black pepper that Blumer uses.
The overnight soak in the maple mixture violates every rule there is about marinating fish, but this recipe is the exception. The results are great. This process almost "cures" the salmon. When cooked, you will end up with a sweet, spicy, and tangy fillet of salmon with a firmer texture on the outside, but a moist texture inside. By the way, the marinade is enough for probably up to 4 fillets, so no need to increase the amount of marinade for a few more pieces of salmon.
Maple-Glazed Salmon with Ancho Chile Crust
-1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup (the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima!)
-2 T. Dijon mustard (feel free to experiment with other gourmet mustards!)
-1 T. soy sauce
-1 T. balsamic vinegar
-A few shots of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce (or some other chipotle-based hot sauce)
-6 oz. fillet(s) of fresh salmon, skin removed
-Fresh cracked black pepper
-ancho chile powder
Instructions: Mix up the maple syrup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and Tabasco chipotle sauce. Place salmon fillet(s) in a large Ziplock bag, pour the marinade over the fillet(s), and refrigerate overnight, turning the fillets occasionally. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 475 F. Place some aluminum foil over a baking sheet and brush with a little olive oil. Remove the fillet(s) from the marinade. Put the salmon on the foil-lined baking sheet. Crack some fresh black pepper on top of the salmon, along with a dusting of ancho chile powder, to form a flavorful crust when baking. Bake for 7 minutes, no longer (trust me!). Serve immediately.