Whiskey and Brown Sugar

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.

brown sugar, whiskey, butter

I love Kerrygold.  Sometimes I eat it on crackers. They are whole grain crackers, which makes this a healthy snack Winking smile 

Kerrygold Butter

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.

brown sugar and whiskey

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.

salmon skin

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.

salmon and butternut squash

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.

Bonny Doon Riesling to Live

And if you shop for wine based on the label or bottle, it offers a pretty unique label and beer-cap style top.

Bonny Doon Riesling to Live

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?

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Tags: Bonny Doon, brown sugar, butternut squash, Food, recipe, riesling, salmon, whiskey, wine

  1. Heather’s avatar

    That looks like a great, simple salmon recipe! All that salmon for $5 – that is a steal. Our fish market is unfortunately not that cheap.

    Congrats on signing up for the marathon – I can only imagine how beautiful running a marathon in Napa is!


  2. Megan’s avatar

    Kerrygold butter is God’s gift to the world! It is the first thing I eat when I land in Ireland. It is also the reason why I gained 20 lbs when I lived there! It was most definitely worth it :)

    This salmon recipe looks great! I hope to make it soon.


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Isn’t all of the dairy in Ireland amazing?


      1. Megan’s avatar

        Sooo amazing! All I ate was butter, brown bread, string cheese and cheese tortellini!


      2. MarathonVal’s avatar

        Hahaha too funny that you mentioned the Engagement Chicken… I tore that out of Glamour magazine yeeeears ago but never made it since my husband proposed before I could make it for him :)

        So exciting that you are signed up to run Napa! When is it? I’m hoping to run New Orleans in Feb if all goes well…


        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          Napa is March 6. New Orleans sounds like so much fun, but if you need another month. . . ;)


        2. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)’s avatar

          My mushroom risotto, or poblano pepper crepes always please :-)


        3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

          That’s a good deal on salmon.
          Napa Valley will be a beautiful run. Good luck with the training :)


        4. Grace’s avatar

          This is such an easy and delicious looking recipe! Salmon can get boring, so it’s always nice to have new ways to prepare it!


        5. Megan’s avatar

          This does sound great! I love Kerrygold too. I tend to only buy it for black and tan brownies around St. Patrick’s Day, but then I use any leftover butter on potatoes and cabbage until it runs out. I like your idea of eating it on crackers.


        6. alicia’s avatar

          Mmmm looks delicious. I’m cooking up my own glazed salmon dinner as i type – I’ll have to try this next time!


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