Good morning! I’m not sure what it’s like where you live, but New York is like a rain forest today! There is a fine mist drifting over the city, making it impossible to walk without, say, getting your glasses completely coated by rain. The umbrellas, they do nothing! It’s really the most obnoxious form of weather, and for some reason, it’s been happening at least once a week for the past few months, if not more. It stopped being funny a long time ago, Earth, so knock it off. I have to get to work!
Now that I look back on it, I seem to really love cooking with bourbon or whisky. I guess that Kramer and I love a nice glass of either after a hard day’s work, so why not add it to my food, too? I figure, since salmon is so healthy, what with all of the omega-3 fatty acids and everything, it needed to get a little tipsy. I would have loved to throw this fish on the grill, but, seeing as how my tiny Brooklyn balcony won’t really allow for a grill, this is the next best thing. The glaze is absolute perfection; sweet, but not too sweet, ever so slightly rich, and just the right amount of tangy. Bourbon was just meant to be paired with molasses, don’t you think? If you don’t like bourbon, well, this isn’t the recipe for you, but if you’re trying to convince the whisky-lover in your life to eat more healthily, this is a great place to start! I had to add the crispy leeks on top, of course, not only for some texture, but also because leeks are so delicious right now! I love the way they combine the starchiness of a potato with the savoriness of an onion. You can use onions, green onions, or shallots, of course, but if you don’t cook with leeks all that often, I really hope you’ll pick some up! They crisp up beautifully with a little butter and white wine, and add a pop of flavor to each bite of tender salmon.
Thinly slice your leeks.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan, then add your thinly sliced leeks. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, until caramelized and slightly crisp, stirring often. Add the wine when they are about 8-10 minutes away from being finished, and allow to mostly reduce.
Combine your sauce ingredients and cook over medium-high heat until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10-12 minutes, stirring often.
Rub your salmon with salt and pepper.
Place your salmon on a lined baking sheet sprayed lightly with Pam (on top of a cooling rack, if you have one), brush lightly with the sauce, and bake at 450 degrees F for 3 minutes on each side, then take out and brush with a bit more, then put it back in for another minute or two, until the salmon reads 135 degrees F and the sauce has slightly caramelized.
I like my salmon more on the medium rare side, but you can cook it until it has reached your desired texture.
- ⅓ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1½ teaspoons country dijon (or another grainy) mustard
- ½ teaspoon cider vinegar
- 2 salmon filets
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 3 large leeks, cleaned
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup white wine (or chicken broth, if you have no wine)
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. In a sauce pan over high heat, whisk together the bourbon, brown sugar, honey, molasses, mustard, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the sauce to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until reduced by half and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make your leeks while the sauce simmers. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat and thinly slice the leeks. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until softened, then add in the white wine and cook until evaporated.
- Pat the salmon dry and season with the salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, then place a cooling rack on top of it and spray with non-stick spray. Place the salmon on the sheet, brush lightly with the sauce, and broil for 3 minutes or so on each side, until slightly crispy.
- Take the salmon out of the oven and brush it again, this time more generously with the glaze. Place back in the oven for another 2 minutes or so on each side, until the sauce caramelizes a bit. Top with the caramelized leeks and serve.