This simple marinade and cast-iron cooking technique is my go-to method for preparing fatty fish, chicken, or pork. The recipe delivers enormous flavor with minimal effort, just what I like for casual entertaining and weeknight meals. They're also well-suited to preparing extra to have on hand for a delicious and satisfying lunch.
Since it's Spring Chinook Salmon season in the Pacific Northwest, I couldn't resist a beautiful piece of this coral-colored fish at the market. Spring Chinook start entering the rivers as early as late January in Oregon and Washington and continue to run into June, but the best fishing is from mid-March to mid-May. I'll happily make the most of this season's catch with this marinade; the sweet syrup, grassy oil, and spicy chilies are assertive flavors and an ideal complement to a rich, fatty fish.
6 wooden skewers
1 pound salmon, skin removed
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 pickled Thai chiles, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups jasmine rice
1 heaping teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 cups water
Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Cut salmon into 1-inch squares that are each a 1/2-inch thick. This should give you about 24 salmon squares.
Combine maple syrup, olive oil, chilies, and salt in a shallow bowl and taste for balance. Adjust with more syrup, oil, or salt. Add salmon to bowl, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
While salmon marinates, cook the rice. Add rice, ginger, and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from heat, leave lid on and let sit for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep warm.
Heat oven to 450°F with a large cast iron pan inside. Slide about 4 pieces of salmon on each skewer and baste with more marinade. When oven and pan are both very hot, carefully remove pan and turn oven to broil. Place salmon skewers in pan and immediately return to oven. Broil 3-5 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness.