Orange Soy Glazed Salmon

Sometimes, you just want something quick and easy. Right?

In our kitchen, quick and easy means about 30 minutes or less from start to finish. OR quick and easy means scavenging leftovers. Which can be wonderful, too. We’ve been happily scavenging that slow cooked Mexican chicken soup I told you about here for several days now, and we just slurped the last of it down for lunch.

Neither of us felt like making anything time or effort consuming, but we had just picked up some fresh salmon, so during our mid-afternoon dinner discussions Matt reminded me of how amazingly I cooked the last soy glazed salmon we had. In our kitchen, and in our house at large, we make effective use of compliments to shift the burden of tasks back and forth. Maybe you know something about that, too? Result: I’m making dinner.

The “recipe” for this particular dish no longer lives in my trusty recipe binder, nor my Google Chrome bookmarks index, nor any of the other usual places I store recipes made and to-be-made. I know, because I looked for it, until I remembered that this recipe lives *in my mind*  now, having been inherited from my mother and long internalized. That’s because this recipe is THAT GOOD, it has become our go-to salmon recipe. About 90% of the salmon we cook is made this way. And while Matt has been bragging about his baked salmon with horseradish mayo (???) for over two years now, every time we get salmon he wants me to do it this way. I imagine that’s 60% because it’s just THAT GOOD, and 40% because it’s MY recipe, therefore I’M the one cooking. Either way.  Because this recipe lives *in my mind*,  I had to stop and think hard about measurements for ingredients. Most mind-recipes are measured by how much space a dry ingredient takes up in the palm of my hand, or other such approximations. Because, at heart, I am lazy.
So, dear reader, I measured out my palm-fulls and finger-pinches and so forth here. For you. With love. But I’ve decided now and henceforth to designate the “~” symbol for ingredient list bullet points, because this symbol screams “approximation”, and that’s likely what you’ll be getting. Enjoy!


~1 pound of fresh salmon

~1/2 cup of soy sauce

~1/4 cup of olive oil / other neutral oil

~1/4 cup of rice vinegar

~1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly

~5 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped finely

~1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or about 1-2 Thai chiles / other medium spicy peppers– 1 jalapeno will do in a pinch, but it’s not my favorite)

~2 tablespoons brown sugar (or palm sugar, coconut sugar, or something along those lines– white sugar would work in a pinch but it’s not my preferred choice)

~Juice of 1 orange

~Zest from about 1/2 of that same orange

*hint* (Pandito taught me that the best way to zest is to use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer of skin, then chop the skin finely. It’s way easier, and way faster.)

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1) Combine soy sauce, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and juice from orange in a medium sized bowl. Whisk / stir to integrate.

2) Pour this marinade over salmon in a sealed Tupperware, plastic bag, or anything else reasonably airtight.


Let sit for approximately 30 minutes, or however long it takes you to start some rice, maybe prep a salad

I opted for a quick toss of arugula, shredded red cabbage, and cucumber, because that’s what we had lying around. I’ll probably garnish with sesame seeds and use some miso ginger dressing I’ve got leftover from this lovely roasted vegetable dish.


or saute some greens, and refill your glass of wine.

3) Heat a small amount of oil, maybe less than a tablespoon (I like coconut oil or grapeseed oil for searing meats on high heat, but other cooking oils work too, including olive oil) in a heavy pan (I love our cast iron) on high heat.

4) Once oil in skillet is hot (almost smoking), remove salmon from marinade, reserving marinade, and sear salmon four minutes on one side, then flip and sear three minutes on the other side.

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5) Remove salmon from pan and tent with foil to keep warm.

6) Discard ginger slices and pour reserved marinade into still hot pan, scraping up browned bits from the salmon. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until sauce reduces to a sticky, glaze-like texture.

7) Serve salmon over rice (or not), liberally topped with the glaze, and sprinkled with orange zest.



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