17 February 2010


This is a recipe I tried back in September that didn't turn out well at all. But instead of abandoning it, I retooled it to make it work. You can read the saga of how it didn't turn out below.

Sweet and Spicy Salmon

Ingredients:
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp grated orange rind
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp orange juice
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Brush glaze over both sides of salmon fillets. Place salmon on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.



This turned out so much better than the original recipe. Much more of what I was expecting. It still doesn't come out with bold orange flavor, so I have renamed it Sweet and Spicy Salmon. You can easily adjust the spices to your taste. As written, it has great flavor without being overly spicy. Still, I thought it might be a bit much for my two year old, but she wolfed it down like she hadn't eaten in months! The girl loves her salmon!

With the changes I made, it was more of a glaze than a rub, which works much better. It's not the best picture, but you can see below how well it coated the salmon (compared to the pics farther down from the first time I made it.) Lena, my two year old, ate the whole fillet in the middle.



Here is my post from September 2009 when I first made this recipe.



This is a recipe that didn't turn out so well the first time I made it, but I think can be salvaged with a bit of tweaking. Here is how I am going to make it next time.

Sweet Orange Salmon

Ingredients:
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp grated orange rind
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp orange juice
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Brush glaze over both sides of salmon fillets. Place salmon on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.


I got the recipe from Cooking Light magazine. I think sweet flavors go with salmon really well and have several salmon recipes that have some sort of sweet glaze or coating involved. But I have never tried pairing orange with salmon before. So I thought I would give it a try. It didn't turn out so well. Here's what happened.

The original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of brown sugar and no orange juice. After I put together the "rub" (as it is called), I was surprised that it only had ½ tsp of orange zest and no other orange ingredient. Since it is called Sweet Orange Salmon, I was expecting orange to play more of a lead role. I gave the "rub" a taste before putting it on the salmon, and I couldn't taste the orange at all. I added another ½ tsp of orange zest, thinking this would boost the orange flavor. The "rub" was not the consistency of any rub I've ever used before. It was really wet and clumpy. It was impossible to actually rub it onto the salmon fillets (hence the quotation makrs when I refer to it). I had to kind of just clump it on. As a result, I didn't have enough "rub" to cover the fillets (and I only had three fillets instead of four). It only covered about half. So I quickly made another batch of the "rub" and did the best I could to cover the salmon fillets with the clumpy stuff.

The recipe said to broil the salmon, but I've never had much luck using the broiler, so I just baked them at 400°.

The result was not good. As you can see from the above picture, the "rub" stayed clumpy and was a gloppy mess on top of the salmon. The brown sugar didn't melt down at all and tasted really grainy and way too sweet. It had just the slightest hint of orange flavor. Not at all what I was expecting. It was quite disappointing.

But instead of trashing this recipe, I decided to try to figure out how to make it work. I came up with the above recipe. I decreased the brown sugar to half the amount. I might even be tempted to cut it back even more; I'll experiment next time I make it. I also added 2 tbsp of orange juice. The orange juice will do two things: it will turn the "rub" into a glaze that can be easily brushed on the salmon fillets. This will eliminate the problem I had getting them evenly coated. And there won't be any graininess from the brown sugar. The other thing the orange juice will do is add more orange flavor to the dish. Since I am adding the orange juice, I left the zest at 1/2 tsp, like the original recipe. Two tablespoons of juice was my best guess for how much to use; I may need to adjust that after making it again. I definitely want to highlight the orange flavor more than the brown sugar flavor.

Here are some pics to show you what a hard time I had with the "rub":

This was the result of trying to rub the rub into the salmon. I couldn't really rub it into the salmon because it was clumpy and salmon is a fragile fish that can't take much pressure. The "rub" barely covered half of the salmon, and I was even using less salmon than was called for. That's when I made a second batch of the "rub". (Don't you like how my salmon fillets were in three sizes: Daddy size (right), Mommy size (middle) and Baby size (left)? :)


This was after I doubled the "rub". I got the salmon coated completely, but I had to just kind of glop it on. I thought it would thin out as the salmon baked in the oven. Not quite!

I am looking forward to trying this recipe again using the changes I thought of. I will certainly update this post when I do.

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