My husband, being born and raised in the mid-west, was more of a meat & potatoes guy when I met him many years ago. On the other hand, I was born and raised in Southern California except for a short stay in Central California when my parents plucked us from the coast and set us down in the heart of agricultural country during my high school years. Growing up we always had fresh vegetables or fruit, or both, at every meal. Quite a bit of our fruit and vegetables were grown in our garden and I spent many hours pulling weeds, watering, harvesting then learning to cook and preserve them. Fresh fish, seafood and poultry were more often seen on our dinner table than meat, and it was always served with plenty of produce and fresh, whole grain bread. My mother, apparently, was ahead of the game in eating the nutritiously optimal way before we even knew there was such a thing.
When I started cooking for my husband, Dan, he found he had a bit of an adjustment to go through. “Where’s the meat?” was mentioned with a chuckle a few times. But to set the record straight, he has always picked up his fork, eaten his dinner and thanked me profusely for cooking whatever it is. Dan hates to cook and really doesn’t know how so he is extremely grateful for any meal on the table that he didn’t have to stress over.
When I first came across the maple syrup & brown sugar glazed salmon recipe in Cooking Light magazine years ago, I told Dan I thought we should try it. “Meh, salmon isn’t my favorite,” he told me. “Not my favorite” is his code word for not liking it. Now being the sweet wife that I am….I made it anyway. And the rest is history…. If I try a new salmon recipe I now hear Dan saying, “But the maple salmon is so good. I don’t know why you think you need to try something new.” The rest of our family has also become enamored of this recipe and I’m glad because it’s a healthy AND a super quick meal to put on the table. I’ve also included a recipe for salmon cakes which is a great way to use any leftovers.
Maple Syrup & Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon
6 (6 oz each) salmon fillets**
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup, the real kind, not pancake syrup
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
1 tablespoon stone ground Dijon mustard or Maille whole grain mustard (which is our favorite!)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Green onion for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Coat with cooking spray and then place fillets on sheet.
Combine sugar, syrup, soy sauce, mustard and pepper and pour over fillets.
Bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Baste fish with syrup mixture at least once during the baking period.
Garnish with green onions and drizzle hot sugar mixture over salmon.
** I like to buy whole fillets from Costco and use the leftover cooked salmon for salmon cakes the next night. No need to cut the fillet into individual pieces, just add a few minutes to the baking time.
Recipe inspired by Cooking Light Magazine.
12-1/2 ounces leftover salmon, sauce discarded **
1/3 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil (I prefer grape seed oil because it has a high smoking point)
In a large bowl mix salmon cake ingredients together, flaking any chunks of salmon remaining.
Scoop 2 tablespoons of salmon mixture and form into a round patty, 1/2 inch thick. (I like using a spring-loaded cookie scoop for this.)
Place on a foil or plastic lined baking sheet then repeat with remaining salmon. You should have approximately 15 cakes.
Pour remaining 1/2 cup panko crumbs into a dish with a lip. I like a pie plate for this.
Dip each cake into the panko crumbs, making sure to cover both sides. Gently press crumbs into salmon then return to baking sheet.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it reaches sizzling hot carefully place 8 cakes into the pan.
Lower temperature to medium low heat and cook until cakes are golden brown, approximately 3 – 5 minutes.
Turn cakes over and brown. Once done, remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Serve with lemon wedges and tarter sauce, or ketchup as Emory prefers.
**If you don’t have leftover salmon you can use raw salmon and pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped. You don’t want chunks left, but you don’t want it to be mushy either.