I could not be happier about the return of copper river salmon here in Washington!
It's always exciting when this delicious item starts showing up in the local stores! That is one great benefit of living here in the Pacific Northwest, is the abundance of salmon, which I LOVE!! People here in Washington are so spoiled on their quality of salmon.....probably the same way Maine is spoiled with the quality of their lobster.
I ended up buying two of fillets of the salmon. One of them was just to cook the simple way, a little bit of oil, salt and pepper. With salmon this good you really want to just let the fish not be too overpowered and just enjoy the tender, moist flavor of the salmon itself.
But the other fillet I wanted to have some fun with! Hence the pan roasted gochujang glazed salmon!
Two things that came to my mind immediately:
One, I wanted to go for a sweet and spicy element and pretty much knew right away that I wanted to incorporate the Korean chili paste, gochujang. This has been such a favorite of mine lately and I try to put this in pretty much everything I can! It has such a perfect balance of sweet in spicy just in the paste itself. (btw...I love mixing some gochujang with an avocado, putting it on toast with tomato and sprouts! yum!)
Two, I will try and get away with being a little bit lazy if I can. To me this was an opportunity to just get a whole meal cooked on one pan. Throw some carrots, tomatoes and scallions right in the pan with the salmon to roast along with it. Plus, the delicious flavor of the sauce will run off in the pan coat some of the vegetables.
I was lucky enough to find some colored carrots at the store, which just have these bright beautiful colors and when they get cut in half they are even more surprisingly beautiful. Not always the colors you expect. The purple carrot was orange inside!
For the sweet and sticky glaze I quickly mixed up some gochujang paste, sesame oil, orange juice and of course doTERRA's ginger and wild orange essential oils. So simple! Honestly, ginger essential oil is one of my top go to oils for cooking, it is so easy to add to any Indian or Asian meal and definitely beats the time I take to mince up the ginger itself. Saving time without sacrificing flavor!
An extra tip??
Another reason why I love about cooking with these essential oils is that its easy to play around with flavors of a sauce without making a sauce too runny or too thick. Of course this sauce has orange juice but adding the wild orange oil made it possible for me to get a little more orange flavor without me adding a ton more juice which would ultimately make my sauce runnier than I would want! It's great!!
For the final touches I thought about adding a fresh uncooked element to the dish. I love cucumber salad and I know that always pairs nicely in any Asian inspired dish. Plus, its so easy!!
A little vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and your good to go! Easy and healthy addition! I just put a big pile on the pan after the salmon was cooled and me and my family just went to town on this fish right on the pan. A one pan family potluck!
Two extra additions I made to the cucumber salad is I added some of the doTERRA dill essential oil. Goes great with the salmon flavor!
Also, once upon a time awhile back I had become aware of existence of umeboshi plums. If you are not familiar, they are these small fermented plums that you can find in a lot of Asian supermarkets. ( I hear they are a great hangover cure too!) Anyway, I also knew there was a vinegar you could buy that is made from the plums as well. So I bought some and it sat in my cupboard for ages!! I never used it! One day, I just happened to think about adding it to my cucumber salad recipe.......Now, I never make it without it!!!
Honestly, I go thru a bottle of this stuff pretty quickly now. It just has this salty tangy flavor that really adds a great depth to any salad dressing or sauce. I don't ever NOT have this stuff in my pantry now. If you ever come across some, buy it, you won't regret it!
Okay, I am done with my rant about umeboshi plum vinegar!
Try this recipe, add whatever vegetables make your heart flutter and lets get this salmon dinner ready to eat. (wild salmon is always best!) You can even steam up some rice and really have yourself a full meal. Seafood night made easy!
pan roasted gochujang glazed salmon, roasted carrots + quick pickled cucumber salad
Serves about 4 to 6
pan roasted salmon and roasted vegetables
1lb. skin on wild-caught salmon
1 bunch of carrots, cut in half (See RECIPE NOTES)
1 bunch of scallions
grape tomatoes, optional
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt + pepper
3 tablespoons gochujang paste
1 tablespoons sesame oil
4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 drops doTERRA ginger essential oil*
5 drops doTERRA wild orange essential oil*
1/4 cup orange juice
For serving, thinly sliced scallions and sesame seeds
quick pickled cucumber salad
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons umeboshi plum vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 drops doTERRA dill essential oil*
salt + pepper, to taste
Prepare the cucumber salad (recipe below).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix the gochujang paste, vinegar, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger oil, wild orange oil and orange juice in a small bowl. Stir until all ingredients are fully combined.
On a large baking sheet, combine the carrots, scallions, grape tomatoes, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss well to coat evenly on the pan. Nicely position vegetables on the side of the pan and add the salmon to the middle of the pan.
Once you have your salmon and the vegetables positioned in the pan how you want, spoon the gochujang glaze over the salmon until fully covered. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper on the top of the salmon. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 12 to 15 minutes. (see RECIPE NOTES)
Let the salmon cool for about 5 minutes. Top the salmon with sliced scallions and sesame seeds, add a big handful cucumber salad and dig in!
quick pickled cucumber salad
Put cucumber and onion into a shallow container, so that the pickling juice will be able to cover a good amount of the cucumbers.
In a small, bowl combine the rice wine vinegar, ume plum vinegar, sugar, dill oil, salt and pepper. Give the dressing a small stir to make sure the salt and sugar get properly dissolved. (see RECIPE NOTES). Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture and allow to sit while your preparing and cooking the salmon.
I used smaller carrots that come in a bunch, but if your using regular carrots I would cut them down into maybe fourths or eights depending on how big. Just make sure your cuts are fairly even so they cook evenly.
I like to put my salmon on broil at the last 5 minutes of cooking just to make the sauce glaze better and get the vegetables nice and crispy. If your going to to that, make sure you roast the salmon about 10 minutes and then broil for the last 5 minutes.
Instead of adding sugar, try maple syrup. Its already dissolved and adds good flavor.
If you do not have the proper essential oils on hand, no worries! Just add 2 tablespoons minced garlic and fresh orange zest instead! For cucumber salad, just add fresh or dried dill.
*We use doTERRA essential oils for cooking because of their high quality and purity. You do not have to use essential oils for this recipe but if you do make sure they are food grade and safe for internal consumption. Check out my recipe notes on how to make this recipe without essential oils if you so desire. Enjoy!