The 3-Ingredient Glaze Jacques Pépin Uses For Salmon With A Sweet Heat

Jacques Pépin with salmon fillet
Jacques Pépin with salmon fillet - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty
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So, you've decided to have seafood for dinner and have already stocked up on your salmon fillets from the grocery store. The only thing left to do? Figure out how you want to cook them. Although there are seemingly endless ways to prepare salmon, it's all too common to get stuck in a culinary rut, especially if you're looking for a quick and easy method that doesn't require too much time or any complicated skills. But if you're looking to put a fresh new twist without having to tack on a ton of extra steps, we've got the perfect suggestion: Simply switch up your glaze!

When it comes to a fish as versatile as salmon, there are as many flavors to pair it with as there are ways to cook it. So if you're tired of the same ol' lemon-garlic, teriyaki, or ginger-soy sauce dressing, take a page from Jacques Pépin and apply a bit of sweet heat. His secret? A simple glaze made from just three ingredients: ketchup, hot chili oil, and toasted sesame oil. The combination of flavors in Pépin's sauce may sound surprising to some. It's certainly a departure from the citrusy or herbaceous sauces you might be used to, but then again, that's the point.

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Sweet And Spicy Flavors Play Well With Salmon

glazed salmon over salad
glazed salmon over salad - OlgaBombologna/Shutterstock

The legendary French chef, food educator, and cookbook author shared this home cooking tip for upgrading salmon during a segment of his PBS series, "At Home with Jacques Pépin." In the clip, Pépin suggests blending a tablespoon of ketchup, a dash of spicy oil, and about ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to create his fish glaze, though he also adds that you can replace the spicy oil with just about any hot sauce of your choice. The magic lies in the combination of sweet and spicy flavors.

Ketchup provides a sugary, zesty touch of tomato, while the spicy chili oil (or hot sauce) brings on the heat. The toasted sesame oil, meanwhile, grounds them both with a subtly sweet, earthy, and nutty taste. It's a genius balance that works well with the fish's delicate flavor profile. (Of course, it's possible to combine sweetness with heat in other ways, as we do in our hot honey and pomegranate-glazed salmon recipe.)

The chef brushes the ruby red glaze on the bottoms and tops of his salmon fillets before popping them in the oven to bake. But whether you prefer to steam, sear, air fry, or bake your fish à la Pépin, you can't go wrong giving this flavorful glaze a try. And you thought you'd run out of fresh ways to eat salmon.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.