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Published June 14, 2018. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This bourbon-glazed salmon recipe is seriously one of the easiest recipes ever. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal and elegant enough to serve up to some guests, and the bourbon glaze is to die for!
Over the past 2 to 3 years I have become really interested in cooking with bourbon as both a marinade and a sauce. For this Bourbon Glazed Salmon Recipe with Grilled Asparagus, I used it as both, which I think is kind of the ultimate one-two flavor punch. It’s also fun to cook with bourbon because naturally, you get to drink a few swigs while you cook :-). Or maybe that’s just me.
I was always taught as a rule of thumb that when cooking with alcohol in any way if you wouldn’t drink it normally then don’t cook with it. If it’s a nasty tasting cheap bourbon, why would you want to cook with it right? Definitely don’t use it in this bourbon-glazed salmon. Well, this happens all the time, so again be mindful of what kind of bourbon you are wanting to use because remember it’s going to be a bourbon marinade and a bourbon glaze for the salmon so you better like the taste.
Which Bourbon to Use
When it comes to selecting a bourbon I like to stick with brands I know such as Jim Bean or Wild turkey. For one, I would gladly drink either of those and two you know you are getting a quality spirit. I do also want to say that yes you can absolutely use whiskey for this Bourbon Glazed Salmon. All bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon. Whiskey is distilled from a grain mash and aged in wooden barrels.
There are Irish Whiskey’s, Scotch Whiskey’s, etc. but if you want it to be a bourbon then it must be made in America. Essentially Bourbon is our version of whiskey. Starting to make sense?
Let’s move on to the bourbon-glazed salmon! The marinade is incredibly easy as it’s an equal 3-part combination of bourbon, brown sugar and soy making for the perfect balance of flavor. In addition to these, I added some umami flavors like garlic, ginger, and scallion to round off the flavors a bit. Add these ingredients to a bowl and be sure to reserve about a half of a cup so that we can turn that into a glaze that won’t be contaminated by raw fish.
I can’t tell you how many recipes I see that tell people to reduce the marinade after something was marinated in it. NO NO NO, throw that away unless you have a desire to be sick because that’s exactly what’s going to happen! That’s why reserving it is the better option. You get the great flavor and you’ll avoid the bathroom :-). You’re welcome!
Fresh Wild Caught Salmon
The past year I have really become interested in sustainable food as it relates to growing it, farming it or raising it. Salmon is one of those things on the outside that seems so healthy no matter what. Well, unfortunately, that’s just not true. One would think it would be so easy for people to head out to sea and catch a bunch of wild-caught salmon and bring it back ashore. While there are tons of companies that still do that and it is 100% the best way for health benefits, there are several companies, especially in the past 10 years that have been farming salmon.
When fish is farmed they are condensed to a small habitat which causes disease and pollution amongst the fish. What it comes down to is that the fish are not healthy simply because living conditions are dense with zero agricultural diversity that leads to a number of problems with the fish. The best advice I can give you is always buy and eat wild-caught anything. Yes, it may be a bit more expensive but you have to know what you’re putting in your body and that starts with knowing where it is coming from. Oh, and not-too-mention it tastes WAY better than farm-raised. Once you’ve selected your beautiful wild-caught salmon, place it in the marinade and refrigerate it overnight and up to 48 hours! The longer you can marinate the better.
How to Make Grilled Asparagus
I’ve overloaded you on information as it relates to bourbon and fish, but believe it or not I don’t really have too many thoughts on buying asparagus. I would always say to buy organic and in season, which are the spring months although you can get some pretty tasty tasting asparagus outside of peak season. Cut off the ends of the asparagus or simply shave them down a bit using a peeler because they can taste a little woodsy.
The next thing you want to do is coat the asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper and place them on the grill or in a grill pan on the burner. This is such a simple and ALWAYs delicious way to eat asparagus!
Last but not least after you sear your salmon in a pan or on a hot grill until golden brown and to your desired amount of doneness, remove it from the pan and add in the ½ cup of the reserved marinade and cook it over medium-low heat until it is reduced by one half. Plate everything up and pour your bourbon glaze over top of the salmon and serve it alongside the asparagus. Enjoy!
If you love this recipe then be sure to check out this honey-soy glazed salmon that is packed with incredible flavors!
Bourbon Glazed Salmon Recipe with Grilled Asparagus
For the Bourbon Glaze:
- 1 tablespoon of chopped scallions
- 1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon of finely grated garlic
- 1/4 cup of Jim Beam or other good bourbon
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
For the Salmon:
- 3 4-ounce fillets of fresh Atlantic Salmon
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 bunches of asparagus
- sesame seeds to coat
- sliced green onions for garnish
- Kosher salt and cracked pepper to coat
- Add all of the bourbon glaze ingredients to a medium-size pot and simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 15 minutes
- In the meantime cut the ends of the asparagus and mix with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to coat. Grill them on high heat for 8-10 minutes or on a flat top until the desired amount of doneness is achieved.
- Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper and set it to the side. Add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil to a pan or flat top and sear the salmon until golden brown and medium in the center, about 2 minutes per side.
- Once everything is done plate up the grilled asparagus and salmon and add some of the glaze over top of the salmon. Note there will be plenty of glaze leftover to use as a marinade or sauce for something else.