The simple but impressive technique in this dish will produce perfectly cooked salmon every time!
The marinade in this recipe is totally delicious- sweet and salty with an Asian flair, it magnifies the taste of the fish instead of covering it up. But the real purpose of this recipe is to talk about my absolute favorite way to cook salmon, which will work with any marinade. The magic comes from first searing your portion on the stove and then flipping it over to finish in the oven. The result is skin that is shatteringly crispy and flesh that melts in your mouth. If you don’t have all of the ingredients for the marinade, or just have another that you would prefer to use, read on! The technique is the star here.
When you start this recipe, make sure you are using a frying pan that is oven safe with absolutely no plastic. This is a great time to bust out your cast iron, although it’s not strictly necessary to make this dish a success. If you don’t have any frying pans that are oven safe, line a baking sheet with foil. Cook your fish face down as instructed and then transfer to the baking sheet to finish in the oven.
This probably goes without saying but I’m going to throw it out there anyway- if you’re going to make the marinade in this recipe, please PLEASE use real maple syrup. This is just good advice for your life in general. An unbelievable amount of commercially available “pancake syrup” is just brown high fructose syrup with maple-ish flavor and it’s… just awful. I have not made this marinade with that sketchy brown goop so I can’t say how exactly it will turn out but my guess is, poorly. You can find out more about maple syrup vs. pancake syrup here.
The other ingredients that may look unusual are chile paste and hoisin. Both can be found near the sriracha in the Asian section of basically any grocery store. Hoisin is a thick, sweet and salty glaze. You can find hoisin that is almost as thin as water but the thicker stuff is better. Chile paste comes in many forms but often can be found labeled as “chile garlic sauce” in American grocery stores. The type I use is literally just pureed chiles and some water and soy sauce, but you can’t go wrong with the kind you find.
There are many amazing ways to serve salmon. This recipe is great paired with asparagus, brussels sprouts, red potatoes or dark leafy greens such as kale. It’s also great over salad, rice (or coconut rice!), pasta, or vegetable noodles.
Hoisin Maple Salmon + The BEST Way To Cook Salmon
The technique in this dish creates perfectly flaky salmon with crispy skin every time!
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp chile paste
- 1 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 6 oz portions of salmon
- 2 tbsp oil of choice (I use olive)
- salt & pepper to taste
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Measure out 2 tbsp and reserve separately. Place salmon portions in remaining marinade. Let sit, flesh down, in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat cast iron or other oven proof pan on the stove until very hot. Add 2 tbsp oil of choice to the pan and heat until shimmering, but not smoking.
Remove salmon from marinade and place flesh down (skin up) in bottom of pan. Sear for 2-4 minutes, undisturbed. No peeking or turning! It is ready when it lifts easily from the pan without sticking.
After searing, flip salmon over so that the skin side is now on the surface of the pan. Salt and pepper the flesh as desired. Place entire pan in the oven and bake for about 4-5 minutes per half inch thickness. For instance, my portions were about an inch thick, so I cooked my salmon for 8 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, and spoon remaining marinade over fish. Serve.