Bourbon Salmon


Ingredients: salmon fillets marinated in soy sauce, bourbon whiskey, maple syrup, orange juice, palm sugar, black pepper, garlic, and ginger.
Served with: jasmine rice, broccoli, carrot, corn

Salmon is pretty much the best thing ever. I can hardly justify purchasing any other kind of fish. Salmon is inexpensive, flavorful, colorful, sturdy, nutritious, and has great meaty texture. It fits almost any recipe, and is especially delicious when grilled or sliced raw. That means salmon is usually healthy too. I have not once been tempted to batter-fry it!

I am perpetually impressed by the quality of frozen salmon in Sweden. It is sold here in packs of 4 portions, each pack costing about $8. It never smells fishy and the flavor is far better than what I’ve purchased when home in Philadelphia. Sometimes I even make sushi using defrosted salmon, and it is excellent. Of course, there are also several smoked or cured varieties of prepared salmon available here, but I’ll save those for another post.

Tonight’s dinner is Bourbon Salmon. I wanted it to be similar to Bourbon Chicken, that famous staple of food courts at American malls. I’ve been missing that stuff since giving up meat (I still eat seafood, clearly). Fortunately, it turned out great, and was very easy to make. I recommend trying this at home to anyone.

First, I grated some garlic and ginger into a plastic bag. Then I added a shot of Maker’s Mark, a shot of soy sauce, a shot of (real) maple syrup, a splash of orange juice, some palm sugar, a little peanut oil, and several good twists of freshly-ground black pepper. Into the bag went the salmon fillets, and into the fridge went the bag. After a few hours, it was time to grill.

I served the Bourbon Salmon along with white jasmine rice and a medley of blanched veggies (fresh broccoli and carrots; the corn was from a can but still crisp and sweet). I topped the rice with black sesame seeds. For the broth, I added some white wine to the remaining marinade, and gently boiled it down in volume. This step also removes the alcohol.

A note about sweetening: I could have used regular white sugar for this recipe, but I absolutely love the nuance provided by maple syrup and palm sugar. It might have been redundant to use both, in that they are both procured from tree sap and share a smoky, caramel-like flavor. Come to think of it, that flavor must be related to the boiling of the sap. Very interesting. Isn’t it?

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