This is a recipe I created for (yet another) blogging challenge. The good people at Marx Foods sent me samples of five random dry goods that they sell. The challenge was to create an original recipe using at least two of those foods. After all the recipes have been posted, the staff at Marx Foods will choose their favorite and that blogger gets a $150 giftcard to their website. Cool! This was my first time participating in anything like this, and I have to tell you, it was a little bit intimidating. As you know if you read my blog regularly, I rarely post recipes that I come up with all by myself. My recipes are usually ones that I have read in a magazine or seen on tv or on another blog, made, and adapted to my tastes. I usually need some kind of a starting point and can go from there. So to have to start from five random ingredients definitely was a challenge for me! Online university degrees in culinary arts are available when you want to further hone your cooking skills.
Two of the food samples I received were coconut sugar and dried De Arbol chiles. I had never cooked with either one of these ingredients before. In fact, I had never even heard of coconut sugar before. I thought maybe it was sugar mixed with coconut or something, but I became educated on the topic when I checked out the website description. This is what I found out:
"Coconut sugar (aka gula maleka) isn’t coconut flavored sugar. Instead, it is natural sugar made from the sweet sap produced by flower buds on the coconut palm tree. The sap is boiled down into a syrup, then evaporated until it forms granules.
Coconut sugar is an unrefined sugar and a low-glycemic index sugar. It is an uneven light to dark brown color and has a texture similar to brown sugar with large lumps. Coconut sugar’s earthy, nutty, sweet taste is more mild than that of other palm sugars."
How cool is that? Here is the recipe I came up with using coconut sugar and the dried De Arbol chiles.
Coconut Sugar and Spice Salmon
4 salmon filets
2 tbsp coconut sugar
½ tsp ground De Arbol Chiles
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Brush salmon filets lightly with olive oil and season lightly with salt. Place filets on prepared baking sheet.
Combine coconut sugar and ground chiles in a small bowl. Sprinkle tops of salmon filets with sugar and spice mixture.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and sugar is melted.
Makes 4 servings.
I've mentioned before how I think sweet flavors go well with salmon, so I decided to do a sweet and spicy combo with it. The combination of the coconut sugar and the ground chiles is so good! The chiles are pretty spicy (technically labeled as "medium", but pretty hot to me!), so I was kind of worried that the salmon would end up too spicy to eat. But I was wrong. The De Arbols gave it the perfect amount of heat and the coconut sugar was the perfect balance to it. The coconut sugar is not overly coconutty-tasting. It has just the tiniest hint of coconut essence. I think it goes really well with salmon.
While not technically part of the recipe, I served this salmon over gaba rice, which was another one of my samples.
If you think this salmon looks good, leave a comment and tell the fine folks at Marx Foods that they should pick me as the winner! :)