When I stroll through the grocery store, there are 2 sections that draw me in immediately—the strategically-placed fresh produce and the flirtatious display of meats and seafood. I know that these items, at their best quality, can stand alone in a dish without having to worry about a combination of crazy ingredients to fuss with. The simplicity of its existence is enough of a guarantee that there is a great meal ahead.
I developed this glaze for salmon originally with blood oranges, but apparently they are at their peak typically from November to January, so they weren’t stocked at the store when I went to make this dish today. I prefer blood oranges not only for their tartness, but for the incredible crimson color that typically makes for an outstanding vibrantly-colored glaze. My disappointment about their absence disappeared as soon as I saw the gorgeous salmon filets (above). I was so blown away by the rich, bold color that my jaw dropped when I saw it behind the counter. All I needed next was some great, juicy oranges to complement the delicate layers of the salmon.
I have a feeling that most people don’t give a second thought about selecting the right orange, as opposed to the careful selection of, say, the ripest avocado. But I think there are very important factors to be aware of when selecting citrus, especially if it’s going to play a big role in your dish.
Color of the rind: Look for an even, bright color all around. Oranges that are yellowish or pale will have a muted taste as opposed to a sharp, tangy flavor.
Weight: When you pick it up, it should feel slightly heavy for its size—this tells you it will be a juicy one! If it feels slightly hollow or very light, it’s probably dried out inside.
: Orange, apricot, and honey glazed salmon :
1 1/2 lbs salmon (or about 5oz per person)
3/4 c freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/4 c good quality apricot jam
2 tbsp orange blossom honey
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 springs of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp Sea salt
In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, apricot jam, honey and brown sugar. Whisk over medium-high heat until the jam has dissolved. When it boils, add the thyme and season with 1/2 tsp salt and little pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer so that the liquid is reduced by half, or until thick, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool in the fridge for at least 15 minutes until think.
Set oven to broil, with the racks about 6 inches from the coil. Place salmon on a non-stick baking sheet or line a pan with foil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Brush on some of the glaze and cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Repeat the application of the glaze 1-2 more times (in 5 minute intervals). Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon, but it’s about 15 minutes total, or until the fish is firm but still delicate. Salmon should be slightly caramelized around the edges.
Here’s a simple side dish that complements the sweetness of the salmon:
: Garlicky Green Beans :
Steam green beans for about 10 minutes or until they brighten up and begin to get tender. In a saute pan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Transfer beans to pan, and add 1 clove of minced garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze some lemon right before serving.