30 March 2012
Salmon with marmalade marinade
It seems like everyone I know is making marmalade. I myself have a treeful of oranges and one of lemons, but I haven't jumped on the marmalade bandwagon quite yet. For one thing, Veronica gave me a full pint of her seville orange marmalade in exchange for a baby spider plant!
I really don't need more marmalade...but who am I kidding? I'll probably end up making at least a small batch in the near future. I think I want to try this lemon marmalade with tea.
In the meantime, I do have an entire pint of marmalade to use for whatever nefarious purpose I choose. So why not mix the marmalade with some soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil, spread it on a piece of salmon, and bake it?
Baking fish may not be quite as easy as poaching--you can, in fact, burn fish if you bake it, while it's awfully difficult to do so if it's submerged in water--but it's still very easy. I think the only real danger is letting the fish get dry. By using an oily fish like salmon and covering it with marinade, you can take a few steps back from that likelihood.
Baked salmon with marmalade glaze
First, make your marinade. In a small bowl, mix together a spoonful of marmalade, several good shakes apiece of soy sauce and sesame oil, and a small spoonful of sambal oelek or other chili paste. The proportions are really up to your tastes. Obviously, I like spice; if you don't, feel free to reduce the chili amount. You could also add a variety of other things to your marinade--rice wine vinegar, mirin, garlic, salt and pepper, or shredded herbs come to mind. I personally wish I'd thought to add some seriously minced and pulverized fresh ginger.
I considered briefly precooking the marinade so the marmalade would melt, but decided not to. This worked out fine.
Lightly oil the skin side of your salmon, so it won't stick. If your fillet is skinless, or you want to skin it first, that's fine. I did find that after cooking, the skin separated from the fillet of its own volition, so I don't think skinning is necessary. In any case, spread your marinade over the other side of the fillet.
Let your fish marinate for at least a half hour, so the marinade has a chance to soak in. Put it in the refrigerator if you're going to marinate it any longer.
When you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425F and take your salmon out to come to room temperature. Put your fish on a piece of parchment paper in a baking dish, so the sugar won't make your pan impossible to clean later. Bake for about ten minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and its flesh flakes easily. You may need a couple more minutes if you have a particularly thick fillet. Mine took about twelve minutes total.
After baking, your salmon will look like this. Hooray! That parchment paper was definitely a good idea, right?
Since salmon and marmalade both have very strong flavors, it's best to keep any additional vegetables simple. It would be great with a green salad, a whack of rice pilaf, or a bed of wilted spinach.
I liked this initial experiment, but I think I could make it even better. I definitely want to try spiking the marinade with ginger, for one thing. I also want to try using sea bass instead of salmon and lemon marmalade instead of orange. Ooh, I know--sea bass with lemon marmalade and fresh rosemary. There's the excuse I need to make lemon marmalade! Food tweaks FTW!