Monday, November 5, 2012

Trying to Like Salmon: Apple Soy Marinade

You may not find it hard too believe that I will pretty much eat anything that won't eat me first.  There are a few exceptions to this statement.  I don't like raisins much, I detest oysters and I'm not too fond of any fish that has a strong fishy flavor, like salmon. 

Salmon seems to be the darling of the culinary world these days, and what's not to love about it . . . in theory.  It is healthy with its abundance of omega-3 fatty acids which strengthen the cardiac muscles and keep the arteries flexible, and it is also high in vitamins and minerals.  Aside from that, I know some people who eat it because they actually like the taste.  Imagine that.

Oh I've tried to like it.  I've cooked it everyway that you can imagine, smoked, grilled, broiled, baked, poached and steamed.  I've eaten it hot, cold and room temperature without much luck.  I've tried sockeye, coho, wild and farmed and everything else in between.  It's just that fishy flavor that ruins it for me everytime, but I keep trying. 

There was one time I remember really liking it.  Years ago my in-laws grilled some salmon that their neighbor had caught on a fishing trip in Alaska.  The night before they served it, they reduced a mixture of apple juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger to a thick syrup.  They cooled this syrup and then drenched their salmon in it and let it marinate overnight.  The next evening they grilled it, and I loved it.  I have never had salmon that good since, but I keep trying it in hopes of finding that perfect storm of ingredients once again.

Ever the optimistic diner, I purchased a beautiful looking salmon fillet yesterday at Whole Foods.  In an effort to recreate that magic from so long ago, I mixed up my own version of my in-laws' marinade.  Choosing to start out with a thick sweet apple essence in the form of jelly, I was able to skip both the reducing and cooling.  I added the other ingredients and poured my marinade over this beautiful fillet, allowing it to sit overnight before smoking it in some mild applewood. 

The results were pretty darn good . . . for salmon that is.  In my opinion this recipe is probably best when smoked or grilled, but it is also great broiled.  This marinade is also great for shrimp, pork and chicken. 

2 tablespoons apple jelly, room temperature or warmed slightly
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated gingerroot
1 teaspoon lime juice
Pinch white pepper
1/2 small Serrano pepper, very thinly sliced (optional)

Mix all ingredients until combined.  Pour over meat and allow to marinate a couple of hours or overnight if possible.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  Cook as desired.

This marinade will season approximately 1 - 2 pounds of meat.

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Cooking with Michele said...

I actually LOVE salmon, but didn't always - some great ways to try it are simmered in a miso-soy glaze, grilled in a nonstick grill pan with and agave glaze, or baked with a tarragon buerre blanc sauce over the top. Don't give up on salmon!

Karen Harris said...

Ok, if you say so. Both of your suggestions sounds great. I promise to give them a try. I'll let you know if one of them change my mind.

Cranberry Morning said...

Sounds good! Personally, I feel about shrimp the way you do about salmon. But I LOVE salmon. :-)

Holly @ said...

I don't cook fish enough at home and my husband is in the same camp as you-- salmon isn't at the top of his list--but this version might win him over, thanks!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I'm not a fan of the fish at all. Salmon is one that I struggle with a LOT. It's just too fishy. Smoked cold salmon is the closest I can say I've come to 'enjoying' it. But really I just tolerated it at best :) I love the marinade/sauce you've used here. I really want to slather it on some shrimp and feast away. Sounds delicious!!

Karen Harris said...

I must admit that I do like Honey Smoked Fish Co's smoked salmon but it actually tastes more like salmon/ham than salmon. Maybe I can figure out their secret recipe someday.

DaniD said...

This sounds delicious - but I also love salmon (sorry)! my boyfriend hates it but will eat it if I put a balsamic citrus glaze on it...definitely keep eating with the sauces. They help...

CharlesR said...


This is my first time on your blog, and I'm liking what I see.

I have a question. Most apple jelly I have had is almost sickening sweet. Does it make this glaze very sweet?

I really would love to try it, but the idea of too sweet is holding me back.

Also I don't have a smoker.

Michele: I would like to try your miso-soy glaze, grilled in a nonstick grill pan with and agave glaze if you are willing to share the recipe.

Dani: Would like to try your glaze also. Would you share the recipe.

Karen: Would you mind if they shared it here or would you rather they emailed them to me?

Have subscribed to your site.

Have a Joyful Day :~D

Karen Harris said...

Hello CharlesR! Welcome! I am always thrilled to have a new reader. Yes, the apple jelly is sweet but with the addition of the lime juice and soy sauce it is tempered nicely in my opinion. After cooking the salmon has a nice thin glaze that I think most people will like. Also, having a smoker is great but not necessary. Place it under the broiler or on the bbq grill instead.

I don't mind at all if Michele and Dani share their recipes here, but they may not get your request unless they check back at the comments. Feel free to visit their sites by clicking on their names. They both have wonderful blogs and I'm sure would be very happy to hear from you. If they want to post their recipes here that would be great. My site is all about the sharing of great recipes no matter who they belong to. Cheers!

Kate from Scratch said...

You know, I'm exactly the same way. Being a vegetarian, everyone always asks, "so you're never going to eat meat at all?". And I always said that I would eventually try to eat fish. I can't imagine what it's going to be like learning to cook it. Yikes! It's the only thing our family never eats so I'm completely clueless when it comes to seafood. Yours looks fantastic! I would definitely give this a try. Great work!

CharlesR said...


Thank you I have checked out their websites and have posted my requests.

Have a Joyful Day :~D

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Karen, you sound just like me. I had to make myself learn to like salmon. To this day...I prefer it being prepared with some kind of marinade or sauce with it.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Thanks for the link, Karen. Here in the Pacific NW salmon is a regular item on our menu. I'm always looking for a new way to prepare it. Love all the flavors in your marinade and I will be trying it very soon.

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I can not deny...I love salmon. I think my favorite is grilled on one of those cedar planks and then served with a mustard, tarragon and maple syrup glaze...or something close since I just throw it together each time..ooh ooh maybe with some bourbon too. My daughter would not touch it but just recently she had some and seemed to be changing her mind.

That's are just too young. Maybe when you get older? :)

Ansh said...

My husband who is a hater of all things fish LOVES Salmon. Me who is a lover of all things fish- HATE salmon!

The only times I have liked it is when the catch is fresh. I am trying to like it - really!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Living near the ocean as I do my whle life I love eveeything related to fish and shellfish, Karen. Salmon is one of my favorites. Im sure I'd love your marinade and it sounds very sweet and spicy -- a good combination for salmon.