Maple Glazed Salmon with Wild Rice & Asparagus

“You like syrup don’t you?” “Does syrup have sugar in it? Then YES!” -Elf. 

I absolutely love salmon, but i’ve been kind of reluctant to try the classic American “maple glazed salmon” combination until now. I mean, I know my taste buds are becoming more American, along with my accent, the longer I live here–but I am still opposed to pairing really sweet things, with really savory things; like maple syrup and bacon, maple syrup and sausage… and maple syrup and FISH! Then when I heard maple syrup glazed salmon tasted just like salmon teriyaki, I decided to be brave and try it– just because I am pretty obsessed with Asian flavors, especially teriyaki– who doesn’t like teriyaki?

This maple-glazed salmon was not only the perfect balance of sweet and salty, but it was also one of the the most moist, tender pieces of fish I have ever had! To the point where I was wondering if it was even cooked properly–which of course it was! Maybe this has turned me even more American–or maybe it has just turned me even more like Elf, {as I start carrying around a bottle of maple syrup everywhere I go and pour it on everything I eat! Haha}. But this dish was absolutely DELICIOUS!

Anyway, I decided to pair the salmon with a delicious wild rice and asparagus salad. I learned a couple of new, really interesting things as I was making this dish. First up–wild rice isn’t even a RICE at all, but a type of grass that’s grown around the great lakes region, and is sometimes handpicked by people in canoes!  I also learned that asparagus grows like this:
asparagus_officinalis_001 asparagus_field-1The grassy look of the first picture led me to believe that it grew in the ground like a carrot, but yesterday when we passed an asparagus field on our way home (there are quite a few here in Mattawa) my husband said: “look closer” and when I saw the spears sticking straight up out of the ground like that, it kind of blew my mind! I also learned that it’s a two-year crop, and that it has to be hand picked, so no wonder it’s kind of pricey! But of course, it’s so healthy and delicious it’s worth it. The combination of the maple-glazed salmon with the asparagus wild rice was SO fresh, seasonal and yummy, I will make it every time spring comes around! I hope you guys like it too.

>{for the Wild Rice Salad: adapted from 101 cookbooks}
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup almond butter
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup dry wild rice {4 cups cooked}
4 cups chicken bouillon/stock
3/4 cup dried yellow split peas {1 cup cooked}
{for the salmon: adapted loosely from allrecipes}
1 salmon filet (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoon powdered ginger

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, combine wild rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, until tender. Drain in a fine meshed sieve for 5 minutes to drain completely.

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add 3/4 cup dried yellow split peas, and cook for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, salt to taste and set aside.

Whisk together the garlic, almond butter, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.

Trim the ends off the asparagus, then wrap in a damp paper towel and place seam side down in the microwave. Cook 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Chop each spear into 3 equal pieces.

In a large bowl combine the wild rice, yellow split peas, asparagus, and abot half of the almond dressing. Give it a good toss. Add more dressing if desired. Taste, and add more salt if needed. SONY DSC

For the salmon:

Line a baking tray with tin foil and place the salmon on the baking tray. Sprinkle with ground ginger, then pour the maple syrup and soy sauce over the salmon, and let sit for about 20 minutes to marinade.

Set the oven to broil, then cook the salmon for about 10 minutes, pouring some of the marinade over the salmon while cooking, and making sure it doesn’t burn.
Place the salmon on a platter and pour some of the maple sauce from the bottom of the pan on top.SONY DSC SONY DSC

Serve the salmon on top of the wild rice, garnish with lemon if desired.
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Next up: maple-glazed spaghetti (courtesy of Elf!) ;-)
<3 Sarah