If I had to create an analogy out of sweetness and saltiness, it would be that sweet is to salty as maple syrup is to soy sauce. Though they are on opposite sides of the sweet-salty spectrum, there is something similar in maple syrup and soy sauce. Perhaps it is something in their color that gives them their depth of flavor, but I find a kind of resiny smokiness in them both—and thought it was about time I tried them together.
I marinate the salmon fillets in a simple sauce of maple syrup, shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), ginger, garlic, chili, and cilantro. Then, I quickly broil the fillets, while I reduce the marinade to a thick, syrupy glaze. I love the contrast of the sweet and salty, and also the American and Asian influences. It's a dish that's complex-tasting but simple to make, for something a bit out of the box—or bottle—when it comes to maple syrup.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.
- 3 medium cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 serrano chile, sliced
- 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks
- 4 teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- 4 six-ounce center-cut fillets salmon
Combine garlic, chile, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, water, and maple syrup in gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Add salmon and turn to coat. Squeeze out air, seal bag, and refrigerate for one hour, turning once after 30 minutes.
Preheat broiler to high. Remove salmon from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. Transfer reserved marinade to small heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer rapidly until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Set aside until ready to use.
Broil salmon two inches from heat source until deep brown on surface and center of fillet reads 130 degrees on instant read thermometer for medium-rare, or 140 degrees for medium, 6 to 8 minutes. Glaze with reduced marinade, and serve immediately.