A sumptuous way with salmon: Heat from jalapeño, salt from soy, sweet from brown sugar

Caramel salmon: An irresistible way to marry flavors from around the world

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Long ago, what people cooked used to be controlled by what grew nearby. Cows were in the Alps; so, the Germans and French ate fondue. Grasses make fires burn hot and fast; so, Asian peoples cook at high heat in a wok. Seafood, rice and hot spices abound in western India; so, fantastic shrimp curry in a bowl of rice was your pleasure. (And every grandma had her own Goan curry shrimp recipe. That’s a culinary tour I’d take in a minute.)

Nowadays, with so many of these ingredients grown everywhere (or available because of sprawling global food chains), you can have all the flavors you want.

And you should try them all! The main goal is to make sure they’ll make sense together.

And in this caramel salmon dish I’ve created, you’ve got pure, logical pleasure on a plate.

From the New World, I pull brown sugar and jalapeños. Asia gives me soy and fish sauce, along with ginger and garlic. Jasmine rice is from Thailand. Cilantro started in Iran, and spread to Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Moorish North Africa and Spain (which is how it got to the New World). And salmon is native to cold waters from Alaska to Greenland, regions dominated by indigenous peoples (and large bears) for millennia.

What I put into the dish is global, but what gets on the plate is a local hit.

Make it and love it like we do!

Caramel salmon WITH JASMINE rice

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Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil

  • Two salmon filets, skin on

For the sauce

Mix together:

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  • 2 whole shallots, minced

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3 T soy sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and finely minced

  • 3 T fish sauce

  • 2 T hot water

  • 1 T (roughly) minced ginger

  • 2 T pickled jalapeño juice

  • Dash black pepper

  • Dash cayenne pepper

For garnish

  • Cilantro leaves

  • 1/4 large red pepper, minced

  • 6 pickled jalapeños slices, minced

  • Dried marigold leaves

Procedure

  1. Make the sauce.

  2. Heat your EuroCAST grill pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl the pan to evenly spread the oil. Because the grill pan has EuroCAST’s innovative FernoGreen composition, the oil won’t “coat” the pan, but spreading it around creates an even flavor layer between the pan and the salmon fillets once the fillets are in the pan. NOTE: If the fillets stick a bit, don’t move them. The heat will eventually increase and release the skin from the pan.

  3. Turn 1/4 turn and repeat.

  4. Add the fillets flesh side down. Leave them be until they’ve turned color to about halfway to the middle of the fillet.

  5. Turn 1/4 turn to continue cooking. This creates beautiful grill marks on the skin.

  6. Flip over skin side down and pour half the sauce over the top of the salmon and reduce heat to medium and cook until desired doneness.

Serving suggestion

Serve with steamed jasmine rice and steamed, well-salted green beans. Use the remaining sauce to drizzle over the salmon and rice.

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Paul WardComment