One of my all time favorite recipes brings together whiskey, brown sugar, and salmon, to make a flavorful, healthy, and hearty meal. I have posted this recipe before when I made it in Ireland, but I thought it was worth posting about again as this is truly a great, quick meal.
I set out to buy scallops at Dorchester Market, my little local shop that happens to sell amazing fish and meat. Their fish selection is small, not always available, and changes in types of fish, but it is always SO fresh. Their scallops are some of the best I have ever had, reasonably priced, and brought in the minute they are caught. If you live in the Dorchester or South Boston areas, I would definitely recommend checking out Dorchester Market.
So, they did not have scallops, but they did have beautiful salmon, and for just $5, I bought this giant filet that ended up being the perfect serving for two.
I started by placing the salmon skin-side down in a pan with a light coating of olive oil, cranking the heat to medium, and putting a lid on it.
While the salmon started heating up, I mixed Jameson Irish Whiskey, brown sugar, and Kerrygold butter until the crumbly texture of wet sand.
I love Kerrygold. Sometimes I eat it on crackers. They are whole grain crackers, which makes this a healthy snack
Once the brown sugar, butter, and whiskey form a nice paste, I added in a shake of red pepper flakes. I love the contrast of spicy and sweet, but you can of course leave these out.
Once the salmon was starting to look like it was cooked about halfway through, I used a spoon to rub the brown sugar and whiskey mix on to the flesh side. I cooked it for a bit longer, then flipped the salmon over so that the coating would caramelize. This is a good time to open a window’; the caramelizing sugar COULD cause the smoke alarm to go off.
Once the salmon was nice and flaky, I served it atop a smashing butternut squash puree. Simply boil butternut squash until soft, stir in a bit of Kerrygold, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper, then either mash with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
Simply a restaurant-quality meal at home, this took me about 25 minutes from start to finish, filled our house with great smells, and made for the perfect at home date meal.
We paired it with a bottle of Bonny Doon Riesling to Live, one of the wines we picked up on our visit to Bonny Doon last month. This sparkling Riesling is bright, crisp, and toasty, with flavors of biscuits and lemon curd. The bubbles are plentiful, making it great for a celebration, and as with all Bonny Doon wines, it is perfect with food.
And if you shop for wine based on the label or bottle, it offers a pretty unique label and beer-cap style top.
Out of everything I have blogged about, I think I would recommend this meal the most. It is a recipe that I sort of dreamt up myself (though I am sure I am not the first or last to think of it!), and it pleases every time. If I was to have my own version of the “Engagement Chicken”, this would be it.
In non-food news, I am excited to share that I registered for the Napa Valley Marathon yesterday! I am hoping to also run Boston but am waiting on confirmation. Let my running season begin! (But I promise not to post too many running posts!)
Do you have a go-to recipe that always impresses guests?