Oh Salmon, How I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways

Oh thank you, sweet Mother Nature, Summer has finally arrived up in here!  If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing a British Columbia coastal summer, then let me paint you a pic:  Balmy breezes carrying whiffs of sea air, patios packed with revellers smashing rose and blowing off work for the afternoon, long and languid nights with luscious 10pm sunsets… It makes us Vancouver people have rain amnesia from the deluge that is November-March, and also explains why we all continue to live in this overpriced hipster rainforest. Summers in these parts are just the ta-tas.

What we like to do once the weather gets gorgeous is head over to the Gulf Islands and unplug. The kid gets as dirty as he wants, I run around in hippie caftans and contemplate reading an actual book, our dog turns feral… and Charlie gets in the boat to start fishing and basically never stops.  He’s so obsessed with fishing, sometimes I wonder when he gets that glazed look in his eye if he’s fantasizing about salmon and not me. His love affair with it runs deep, his perpetual sea sickness and penchant for sunburns be damned. Case in point: I watch makeup tutorials on Instagram to unwind, he looks at pictures of fishing boats. Opposites attract!

Suffice it to say, he’s really good at fishing, which means we’ve been eating a lot of Chinook (spring) salmon lately. Luckily I love salmon. If you don’t like it, I don’t know who hurt you, but I like to think of it as the real chicken of the sea. It’s so versatile, you can make it 1,000 different ways and never be bored of it. So I want to share a few of my favourite methods of cooking it, since that’s what I’ve been doing lately: cooking. effing. salmon.  In caftans.

Worth mentioning: in my opinion, the skin of the salmon is the best part, cooked to a crisp and caramelized to deliciousness. Plus, I hear it’s good for you and your hair and nails, so beauty bonus?  My favourite way of crisping skin is with my nifty little brûlée torch, a present from Charlie, which is a great way of crisping something up in a real hurry, and equates to perfect skin, every time. It’s meant for creme brûlée but honestly, crispy skin is my creme brûlée, so… Get yours here:

Here’s what I’ve been cooking lately.

Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon


2 salmon fillets
1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 inch pieced of ginger, peeled and minced or grated
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
The juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Nonstick spray

Mix together the sweet Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, and lemon juice. Let it come to a simmer in a pot over medium heat and thicken for a few minutes. Set aside.
Spray a baking sheet well with nonstick spray (my favourite is coconut oil spray) or a drizzle of olive oil. Coat the fish in the glaze, sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay it flesh side down, skin up. Bake in the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. If you’ve got that blow torch handy, crisp up the skin for a few seconds before serving it over rice. OR just set it under a hot broiler for 1 minute.
Rice tip: drizzle some sesame oil over the rice before cooking to give it some flavour, always season it with salt and pepper, and at the end, stir in some fresh chopped scallions to liven things up. So easy, it’s embarrassing.

Miso Glazed Salmon


2 salmon fillets
2 tbsp white or yellow miso paste
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced or grated
The juice of one lime
Nonstick spray

Mix the miso paste, honey, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, and lime juice together. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Coat the salmon in the sauce, sprinkle with just a touch of salt and some black pepper. Set it flesh down, skin side up, and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes. Broil that skin under a broiler for a minute or torch it with your nifty brûlée torch.

“BBQ” Salmon

(yes I’ve told you about this one before.  It’s worth mentioning again because I am OBSESSED)


4 salmon fillets, or one side of a whole salmon
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper
Nonstick spray

Heat a pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Sautee the onion for about five minutes until soft and translucent. Sprinkle with the curry powder, salt and pepper, then add the tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute, then add the red wine vinegar, the Worcestershire, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes to thicken. If it gets too thick, just add a splash of water to thin it out.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Coat the salmon in the “BBQ” sauce, then lay flesh down, skin side up. Sprinkle the skin with a little extra salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes for fillets, depending on thickness, or 20 minutes for a whole side of salmon, and (that’s right) crisp up the skin with a brulee torch if you’ve got one. This salmon is delish over mashed Yukon gold or sweet potatoes.

Pesto Salmon


4 salmon fillets or one side of a whole salmon
1/3 cup of pesto (we like basil pesto, but use your favourite. To make your own, blend two cups of basil leaves with 3 garlic cloves, 3 tbsp pine nuts, 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, and 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Or just go to the store and buy some gang)
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely minced
Nonstick spray

Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet. Mix the pesto with the jalapeño, then coat the salmon with the pesto mixture. Bake for 15 minutes if using individual fillets, or 20 minutes for a whole side of salmon. Could that get any easier? The answer is no.

If I have made a salmon lover out of you, please let me know so I can pat myself on the back, it’s been a whole five minutes since I’ve done that.


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Calvert says:

    Thanks for posting these Jewel, I’m a salmon lover also and I also live in Vancouver and I’m looking forward to trying all of them.

  2. Fernando Fernald says:

    I never cook following recipes. But this Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon seems really easy to do. Is never too late to start… I really mean it… I’m about to be 60yrs old 🙂

  3. David Brand says:

    There is only one way I can thank you for the salmon recipes, and that’s to share one:
    Bourbon and Brown Sugar Salmon
    1 skinless salmon fillet (2 to 3 lb)
    ½ cup bourbon
    ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
    2 Tbsp soy sauce
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    ½ cup chopped scallions, green parts only
    2 tsp dark sesame oil
    Cooked rice


    1.Place a rack in center of the oven; preheat to 425°F.

    2.Place salmon fillet in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Pour bourbon in a small bowl, add brown sugar, and stir until brown sugar dissolves. Add soy sauce, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil and stir to combine. Pour bourbon marinade over salmon. Pick up salmon with a fork to let some of the marinade run under it.

    3.Bake salmon until it is well cooked and crisp around edges but still a little soft in center, about 15 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven and let salmon rest for about 15 minutes. Serve with rice.

    Cook’s Note

    Do Ahead:
    The salmon can marinate in the bourbon mixture in the refrigerator, covered, for up to eight hours.

  4. Caitlin Macy-Beckwith says:

    These marvelous ingredients (Chinook salmon, Yukon golds, etc.) are the exact local goodies we’re squeeing about down here in Seattle all year! So now I have an extra prompt to make these recipes, because of how familiar they already feel. Thanks, Lady J! ???

  5. Ted says:

    Thanks for coming to Columbus! And thanks for the recipes here, would have liked to talk cooking, but you, Sean, and Hope (I think) were enjoying some off time between autograph
    and photo sessions at the bar. I will try some of these salmon recipes, even though fresh salmon is hard to find here in Ohio 🙂 One thing I miss about living on the East Coast is the fresh seafood!

  6. Cheri says:

    I am not a big fish person, but these sound FANTASTIC!
    Thank you!

  7. Mark says:

    Salmon is my God. My kids’ fave recipe
    Is Perfect Salmon Burgers (www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/perfect-salmon-burgers-recipe-2105786.amp) with our salmon from Iliamna Wild Salmon. Magnificent.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Please, please make your own pesto. It’s way better than store bought, and dead easy for anyone with a food processor.

  9. Shae Cameron says:

    Hell yeah, Jewel. Crispy salmon skin is up there with pork crackling! Remember that one time I cooked for you and Charlie? I bet your salmon cook off would beat my salmon cook off so maybe we could do a mussel challenge and no, I don’t mean an arm wrestle, you would have me there.
    PS: The best foodie blog I’ve read in aaaaaages.

    1. Jewel Staite says:

      Awww Shae, I love you! I want to eat your food again! SO GOOD

      1. Shae Cameron says:

        I’m between jobs at the moment, I’ll come and cook for you and your fave friends, tell me when. 🙂 I’ll be on the Sunshine Coast near Gibsons soon too, we could do a gourmet picnic on the beach. xx

  10. Todd says:

    I make a relish with roasted Anaheim peppers (and/or bell peppers), pan-cooked corn kernels, chopped tomatoes, salt, lime. Season and cook your salmon. Tastes like summer! One friend said it was the best meal she’s had all year but I don’t think she gets out much.

  11. jon spencer says:

    One more thing to try with fresh salmon is making your own gravlax.
    There are many, many different recipes and most are very good.

  12. John says:

    I think it’s going to be a delightful summer. Thanks and hi from the OK valley, wine country.

  13. Philip Cook says:

    Back to this page to make the sweet chili recipe again. We love salmon here but it’s always nice to try new variations. Thanks!

  14. Stephen Potter says:

    I tried out the pesto salmon this summer and it was easy to do and tasted fantastic! Used to grill salmon coated with lemon butter but this is better – and quite easy in the oven. Highly recommend this recipe!

    There was a previous post about wines, but it seems to be gone now. Can we please have another! Need more recommendations. The ones you provided at the Comic Cons have all been great – especially the Blue Mountain Brut (just received six more bottles via Fedex this week!).

  15. Joe Bryant says:

    Love pesto salmon sandwiches! I stole the idea from Hiram’s in Seattle. Just grill the salmon with salt and pepper, spread pesto thick on a half of a french loaf cut to size and plop that fish right on top, serving it open face. Nothing better during a Pacific Northwest summer!

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