Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baked Salmon with Cajun Brown Sugar Citrus Rub

Wild Alaskan salmon dusted with a brown sugar, lemon zest and Cajun seasoned rub and baked.
Wild Alaskan salmon dusted with a brown sugar, lemon zest and Cajun seasoned rub and baked.

Baked Salmon with Cajun Brown Sugar Citrus Rub

I just love Alton Brown. I am a fan of his show Good Eats (sadly, no longer on the air), and I have all of his books of the same name because they are a true encyclopedia of cooking in my opinion. If you like to learn the science behind foods, you'll enjoy these book and get a few recipes as a bonus.

In one of the Good Eats shows Alton does a series of recipes using whole salmon, and one of the recipes involved using a rub made with, of all things, brown sugar! Now you know that was right up my little ole Southern alley, and I just so happened to have a whole fillet of Wild Alaskan Keta Salmon that kept falling out of the freezer every time I opened the darned thing.

His recipe involved fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon - just a tad too high dollar for this Southern gal - and he was cooking strictly by broiling, and, well... my broiler and I don't tend to get along too well. Like Rachael Ray, I tend to burn everything under the broiler. And smoke up my house even if I don't. So, I made a few adaptations to the recipe that I think work.

I never thought to use brown sugar with salmon, but, I gotta say ... this was both different and unexpected, and just delicious! Do give it a try.

Recipe: Baked Salmon with Cajun Brown Sugar Citrus Rub

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Inactive time: 45 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 1 hour 15 min

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 Wild Alaskan, skin-on Salmon fillet, about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds, pin bones removed if applicable
  • 1/3 cup of light brown sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) or to taste, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the brown sugar, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. For easier clean up, line a baking sheet with foil and lay the salmon on top, skin side down. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly on top of the salmon and allow it to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees F for roughly 20 to 30 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches a minimum internal temperature of 131 Degrees F on an instant read thermometer. To keep the thinner tip piece from over-cooking, you can fold it over and secure it with a toothpick.

If desired, remove the salmon from the oven and turn the broiler on and pass the salmon under the broiler just until the sugars caramelize. Remove the salmon from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

Teriyaki BBQ Glaze: Melt 1/2 stick butter with 1/4 cup each soy sauce and ketchup, 2 teaspoons Creole mustard, dash each of Worcestershire and hot sauce and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Brush on salmon as above and proceed with recipes.


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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from Alton Brown
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Posted by on July 8, 2009

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  1. do you make your own recipes from scratch? are you a professional chef??? I can't believe how wonderful everything you make looks!!!

  2. Salmon is my favorite and this looks delicious. Had Alton Brown been my food science professor, I would have learned so much more than I did back in the day!

  3. LOL Tootsie! No, I'm just old as dirt and have been cookin' awhile that's all. The food blogging has helped too - keeps me focused on what all I've learned over the years.

    I know Judi! Me too! I love the science behind what he shows - I've learned a lot from his shows.

  4. That does look good. I got interested in salmon when I lived in the Pacific Northwest for awhile, had only been acquainted with canned salmon before that...

    Hubby is nuts about salmon so I'm going to sic him on this recipe. He likes to cook!

  5. We have a salmon in the freezer that my hubby caught that we need to eat up... this looks like a great way to use it! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I miss cable purely because of the food network. And I'm always tempted to get it just for the food network. . .and discovery :)

    My husband is going to love this dish i think! (and hope!) he is addicted to brown sugar, and I have salmon in my freezer right now.

  7. Yum. I don't usually tackle Salmon, but I printed this out and am going to have to try it. I had to laugh at your TIVO comment. I have DVR and so many cooking shows recorded that it is overwhelming. I need to find some time to sit down and watch a few.

  8. Hi Mary!!!! I switched over to Fire Fox I can get on now!!! Your Samon looks fantastic!!!

  9. Yum! Brown sugar and citrus! Sounds fabulous!

  10. Your salmon looks so wonderful Mary! I'd love a plate of this for dinner!

  11. This looks beautiful. I'm posting salmon patties tomorrow. I've been in the salmon mood!

  12. Hey Mary, the guys hate salmon so I don't really try any new recipes BUT if they would go on a weekend fishing trip, I would surely try this! It looks fantastic.

  13. This is such a nice recipe. It's hard to beat simple and delicious:-).

  14. Alton Brown rocks!!! And so does this salmon...brown sugar & citrus...oh man woman, I'm a droolin' away over here!

  15. I love Alton! Your salmon looks fabulous! I have never tried brown sugar with my salmon but I would love to try it!

  16. Mary...I need to be honest...although Alton Brown is familiar to me...I have yet to try his recipes. However, I just realized that I already have something in commmon with him...I make one of my salmon dishes also with brown sugar, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a generaous sprinkle of roasted almonds.

    Through you as a fan of his...I'll certainly learn more.

    Flavourful wishes,

  17. This recipe was amazing! I shared this with the family and they absolutely loved it. I was concerned at first about the amount of sugar but by the time it was done it looked awesome! And I'm trying to figure out how to make that combination a sauce! It wasn't enough we wanted MORE! lol thank you so much for sharing it!

  18. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for taking the time to come back and comment - I appreciate that!

  19. You're very welcome! :) I try to always give credit where credit is due. If I knew how to share picture I would but they probably wouldn't be as mouth-watering as yours anyway. lol I'm just so glad I found your site. The pictures make me want to try every dish! lol

  20. I'm not a salmon eater and I made this for a guest who devoured it. I sampled it and was pleasantly suprised at how "unfishy" this tastes. I served it with mashed potatoes and it was so good to the point that I mixed it all together. The recipe was easy and simple. I do think using fresh salmon filets vs prepackage frozen filets made the difference.

  21. Tonight was the second time I made this and loved it!!! So easy and my entire family enjoyed! Thanks!

    1. You're welcome Barbara - I'm so glad to hear y'all have enjoyed this one. It's really good isn't it?!

  22. I was in the mood for Salmon and Kroger had some good looking salmon steaks. I decided to try this recipe and I'm sure glad I did. Served with a baked potato loaded in butter and sour cream (I cheated and nuked the potatoes to shorten the cooking time) For as easy as this recipe is to prepare, it makes a gorgeous looking and tasty plate. Like something from a high end restaurant. My wife was impressed when she got home from work.

    1. I'm so happy y'all enjoyed it Richard & thank you so much for taking the time to stop back by and let me know!

    2. After enjoying the dish from your recipe I looked at Alton Brown's recipe. Just learning to cook I had several pit falls with your recipe. You failed to mention that you need to take out the pin bones. Your failed to mention that any glazing on the cookie sheet will burn. You also failed to mention which side goes down. I placed the skin down but had to search other recipes to be sure.
      Thank You

    3. Hi Harold and thanks so much for your input. First, please understand that I am not a trained chef. I'm just a cook just like you or anybody else, who happens to blog about what I cook in my kitchen!

      To address the "pitfalls" you mentioned, 1) The reason I gave you the source of the recipe was so that you could use that for reference, 2) there were no pin bones in the fillets I've used, and that is often the case, but anytime one cooks a fish, you should of course check for bones, 3) my instructions include lining your pan with foil because sugars and glazes can be sticky and yes, burn, 4) my instructions tell you to lay the salmon on the foil and apply the brown sugar mixture to the top and let it rest. The assumption is that you will leave it that way to cook it. Fish is typically cooked with the top or seasoned presentation side up and skin side down.

      Thanks again for your input. Perhaps I can edit the post to better clarify these points.


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