Wulf's Kitchen: Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon with Quick-Pickled Cucumbers and Jasmine Rice
I love a weeknight dinner that feels special but is actually simple and quick to come together. The CleanFish salmon “short cuts” are just as delicious and straightforward to cook as the CleanFish fillets. The main difference is that the pieces aren’t uniform, but that’s an easy workaround.
One way to balance the pieces of different thickness is to cut the fish into 1-inch chunks and skewer them — when you push the pieces of fish closely together on a skewer, it essentially becomes one uniform piece of fish. While it’s common to see skewers threaded with fish or meat and vegetables together, I like to spear veggies on their own skewer because they’ll take longer to cook than the salmon. Plus, their added moisture will keep the salmon from getting a good hard sear on the grill.
To prep the salmon for cooking, salt it liberally and cut into 1-inch chunks. Thread onto a skewer and place on a very hot grill. For this recipe, I simmered brown sugar, soy sauce, and a little bit of fish sauce until it was a thick glaze — then I brushed that on the salmon as it cooked. Serve with a quick cucumber pickle, a flurry of chopped cilantro, and jasmine rice — it all comes together in under 30 minutes; it’ll be gone in a fraction of that time.
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- 2 small Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1.5 pounds Nordic Blu salmon short cuts
- 8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, or to taste
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Hot sauce
Place the cucumbers in a medium mixing bowl or large glass measuring cup. Combine the rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve sugar. When it’s starting to simmer, remove from heat and pour over cucumbers. Stir to combine and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Light the grill. Cut salmon into 1-inch chunks and thread onto 8 skewers. You should have roughly 2 to 3 inches of fish on each skewer. If pieces are thin, fold before threading them onto the skewer. Sprinkle with salt and refrigerate.
Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear, then transfer to a medium saucepan with 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (as low as it can go), cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest.
While the rice cooks, place the brown sugar, shoyu and fish sauce together in a small saucepan (use the same one you used for the pickling liquid) and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture is thick and glossy, 4 to 5 minutes.
When the grill is hot, brush the salmon skewers with the glaze, place skewers on grate and sear for 1 to 2 minutes. Brush with glaze, turn, sear the other side for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Turn every minute until fish is barely cooked through. It should take 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a platter. Squeeze lime juice over the top of the fish.
Fluff the rice and add it to the platter with the salmon. Sprinkle liberally with cilantro and serve with pickled cucumbers, lime wedges, and hot sauce.