Maple-glazed salmon and salmon spuds (home-fried Yukon golds and sweet potatoes) harken back to American culinary traditions predating recorded history. After several goes at a recipe worthy of this syrup, we came up with one that combined a little fire with the sweet for a taste that struck us as just right.
Maple syrup has been part of Northeastern American cooking since before recorded history. There are reports of Native Americans cooking venison in maple sap. Although these days it is perhaps best known as a topping for pancakes, waffles and French toast, its unique flavor is used to enhance smoked and cured meats and to sweeten a variety of desserts. Both maple syrup and maple sugar are the base for a number of tasty candies.
Gathered in early spring, about 40 quarts of maple sap is needed to produce just one quart of syrup, so it’s not surprising that this amber liquid is rather expensive; a bottle of quality, grade A syrup costs as much as decent bottle of bourbon. But once you’ve tasted authentic maple syrup, it’s awfully hard to go back to cheaper, corn-syrup based, artificially-flavored imitations.
Maple syrup from Yeany’s Farm near Marionville, Pennsylvania, just a few miles from where I grew up. Located in Forest County, the Allegheny Mountains there are laced with the small trout streams I cut my teeth on as a young angler, and where, as the bottle suggests, I kicked out many a ruffed grouse on hikes through the woods. Much thanks to our friend and fellow Pennsylvanian Jack Williams for the thoughtful gift of this excellent syrup.
- 2 salmon, charr or trout fillets, 6 ounces each, skin on
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or use powdered garlic)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- Penzeys Northwoods Fire Seasoning (or make your own blend in a food processor from ingredients such as salt, chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, Tellicherry pepper, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, etc.)
- olive oil
- Mix together soy sauce, water, sea salt, ginger and garlic in a glass baking dish just large enough to hold both fillets side-by-side.
- Place fillets in marinade, skin side up. Marinate for 30 minutes or slightly longer.
- Meanwhile, place a broiling pan in the oven and preheat on high. (Pan should be positioned near the top of the oven – near the broiling element.)
- Place maple syrup in a small pan such as a small frying pan and heat over low heat until the syrup simmers and bubbles. Cook down until syrup is thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
- After 30 minutes, remove fillets from from marinade. Pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle with Northwoods Fire Seasoning.
- Coat broiling pan with olive oil. When sizzling hot, place fillets skin side down on pan. Broil for approximately 7 minutes.
- Spoon maple syrup on top of fillets. (You may have to reheat the syrup if it cools and hardens.) Broil for 3 more minutes. Serve hot.
The heat from the seasoning goes perfectly with the sweetness of the Maple syrup. These fillets are excellent with home-fried potatoes seasoned with soy sauce, Cholula sauce, and a couple shakes of Penzeys Southwest Seasoning or a similar mildly fiery seasoning. Enjoy the meal with a fine bourbon.
Click here for a delicious Maple Walnut Fudge recipe.