Save your boring weeknight dinner with this heavenly Honey Glazed Salmon, artfully crafted to tickle ALL your taste buds!
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Balancing flavors isn’t just a passion, it’s a lifestyle for me, and I can’t think of any recipe that manages to do that as beautifully as this Honey Glazed Salmon.
It’s savory and sweet, bright and earthy, with just a touch of heat.
Texturally, there’s tender salmon, a sticky glaze, and little hints of nutty, crunchy sesame seeds.
It’s really the perfect dish to showcase all the culinary voodoo you can do in your kitchen, and I can’t wait for you to try it!
Salmon is the second most-consumed seafood in the U.S. (behind shrimp), and I even see it on menus at steak restaurants. Its popularity is likely due to the mild, yet rich flavor, plus the nutrients and healthy fats that are so good for you really smart scientist types literally recommend consuming it (or some other fish) twice a week.
Choosing fish can be a daunting task, especially if you live hundreds of miles from the coast, but I always recommend chatting with someone at your fish market for information.
The freshest choice can actually be a frozen filet, for example, since those may have been iced right after catching instead of aging a few days in the truck on the way to your market.
There’s also some discussion (or heated argument) over choosing farm-raised vs. wild-caught salmon.
The only wild-caught salmon in the U.S. is from the Pacific, so anything from the Atlantic is farm-raised. There are plenty of responsible farmers out there, though, so it’s really best to talk to someone who knows their fish.
What is the best seasoning for salmon?
Basic is best whenever you’re dealing with fresh, delicate fish. Everything you put on top of this salmon, or whatever gift from the sea you’re having for supper, should be chosen with the intent to complement, not cover up the natural flavors.
Most of us eat seafood because we actually like the taste, not to mention it’s generally one of the more expensive ingredients we splurge on, so “simple” is the way to go.
We’ll cook the salmon in a little olive oil, seasoned very simply with a bit of salt and pepper, just until the filets are browned and a have a slightly crispy exterior.
Overcooked salmon, or any fish, for that matter, is a travesty since you’ve usually spent a bit of the old cashola to serve it in the first place. I prefer salmon just barely cooked through, soft, almost creamy on the inside, since it really enhances the richness of this particular fish.
If you want to double-check the temperature for safety, make sure your instant-read thermometer reaches 145 degrees in the thickest part of the filet.
How do I make honey glaze?
Although I’m partial to my own honey glaze, there are a few other versions of similar honey soy glazed salmon recipe that are worth mentioning. Most are a twist on the classic salty/sweet teriyaki glaze for salmon that includes both mirin and ginger (both of which are missing in my version).
There’s a honey brown sugar glazed salmon, but I find that’s a little too sweet to work in that delicate balance of flavor I’m after, so I just use a touch of honey.
I compliment the honey with freshly squeezed lime juice and a generous dollop of Dijon mustard. Dijon, which is made by processing mustard seeds with white wine instead of just vinegar, is more subtle than its yellow, ballpark sibling, and adds just a touch of heat and a creamy quality to the glaze.
Rather than a simple honey mustard glazed salmon, though, I also include soy sauce, since it brings a wonderful umami quality to the glaze.
It’s also a simple way to enhance the natural flavors of the other ingredients in a more complex way than just using salt.
Some recipes incorporate everyone’s favorite aromatic – honey garlic glazed salmon and honey garlic soy sauce salmon.
As much as I love garlic paired with honey in dishes like my Honey Garlic Chicken, it competes for a bit with the other flavors in this dish, especially the delicate fish, so I skip it in my version of this recipe.
The absolute best thing about this sauce is that’s it’s so simple to put together!
You’ll just have to dump everything into a saucepan on the stove and cook it a minute or two so the cornstarch can do its thing and help the sauce reach glazing consistency. Because we cook it in the same pan as the salmon, you’ll have the little salty, fishy bits incorporated into it too.
A little dip in the glaze is all it takes to coat the filets with this perfect balancing act of a sauce.
Finish the dish by sprinkling the top with a few sesame seeds (toasted, if you can) and a little parsley for color. Some finely chopped scallions (the green part) or chives would work too if you don’t have any parsley on hand.
What is a good side dish with salmon?
Side dishes should be relatively simple, again with a focus on complementing the natural flavors of the salmon, not competing with them.
I like to serve Honey Glazed Salmon with steamed rice since there’s usually a little extra sauce to drizzle on top, though mashed potatoes are always welcome on my plate.
For something green, I like steamed broccoli, baby bok choy, or a simple Sauteed Asparagus.
In addition to being perfectly crafted from a flavor standpoint, this is also my favorite kind of dish because it’s both quick enough to pull together for a weeknight family meal and elegant enough to serve to company. This Honey Glazed Salmon is the stuff dinner dreams are made of, and it’ll make you put fish on the menu a little more often.
Recipe Notes for Honey Glazed Salmon:
Salmon choices – If you don’t have the luxury of a knowledgeable fishmonger, there are still some tips you can follow to make sure you’re getting the best salmon available. King is literally the “king” of the salmon world, which the price reflects, but it’s really rich and buttery.
Sockeye is the other popular choice and a good fatty option.
Definitely always look for fillets that are free of blemishes (no brown spots in the flesh) and moist (no dried out skin either). If all else fails, use the best tool you have: your nose. Fresh (or fresh-frozen) fish should actually not smell fishy.
Other cooking options – Although I don’t recommend cooking this Honey Glazed Salmon in foil since it tends to dilute the sauce with fish juices and steam, you can do a baked Honey Glazed Salmon version.
Place the filets on a foil-lined baking pan and drizzle with a little olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake these in a 425-degree oven for about 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. You’ll still want to heat the sauce on the stovetop to thicken, then gently glaze the salmon with it before serving.
You can also use a similar method and make a grilled Honey Glazed Salmon, cooking it over medium-high for 10 – 15 minutes based on how thick it is, then top it with the sauce you’ve prepped on the stove.
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Honey Glazed Salmon
- 4 6 Ounce Pieces Salmon Fillet
- Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
- 1-2 Tablespoons White Sesame Seeds
- 2 Tablespoons Green Onions Sliced on the Diagonal
- 1 Lime Cut Into Wedges
- Generously season salmon with salt and pepper.
- Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in n a small bowl; set aside.
- Heat the oil, in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, until very hot but not smoking. Cook salmon for 2-3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Carefully remove salmon to a plate.
- Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool down for about 2-3 minutes. Add butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer sauce until it thickens, about one minute. Nestle the salmon in the sauce. Turn fillets over to coat with the sauce. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with white sesame seeds, sliced green onions, and lime slices. Serve.
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