Chili-Maple Glazed Salmon


Early every spring, on a family farm in Lander, Pennsylvania, friends of ours engage in the annual tradition of “sugaring.”  The labor of love requires hand-drilling their Maple trees, removing hundreds of gallons of sap, boiling it down, to be rewarded with a sweet, sticky condiment that goes far beyond pancakes.

As they were engaged in this process, I was coincidently reading a book called “The Dirty Life”, a true story in which a woman leaves her chic New York City life as a travel writer to work on a farm and start a year-round farm share with a man she ultimately married.  (Great read, by the way!)

In the book, they were boiling down hundreds of gallons of sap, just as my friends were doing the same in Landers.  The sap is boiled in an “evaporator” which has a huge fire burning underneath and must be tended constantly.  Amazingly, it takes about 45 gallons of sap to yield one gallon of syrup.  The sugaring season occurs in the spring, when temperatures dip below freezing at night, and are above freezing during the day.  Depending entirely on the weather, the season can start in February and last until April.

I have long cooked and baked with maple syrup for its robust sweetness.  A natural sweetener, it pairs well with savory dishes and provides a sweet counter-balance to tangy ingredients like Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar.  One of my all-time favorite salad dressings is Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette in which these ingredients are simply yet so perfectly balanced.  I have, in turn, used that on roasted vegetables for delicious twist.

When we received a tin of this incredible syrup as a generous gift, I was inspired to cook with it in new ways.  The following salmon recipe is sure to be a year-round favorite in our house, and perhaps in yours.  It is easy enough for a casual weeknight meal but special enough for company.

Chili-Maple Glazed Salmon
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  1. 1 teaspoon paprika
  2. 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder (could substitute regular chile powder)
  3. ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  4. ¼ teaspoon brown sugar
  5. ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  6. 4 (6-ounce) fillets Alaskan salmon
  7. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, and salt.  Rub the spice mixture over the salmon.  Place salmon on a baking sheet (see tip) and broil for 6 minutes or until not quite cooked through.  Remove from the oven, baste with the maple syrup, and broil for 1 minute or until nicely glazed and barely cooked through.
  3. The salmon will continue cooking a bit once removed from oven, so be sure not to overcook.  When in doubt, don’t hesitate to take a knife and cut just enough to peek inside.
  1. Line your baking sheet with foil--do not grease--and place the salmon fillets skin side down.  Once cooked, the skin will stick to the foil and you can gently slip your spatula between the skin and the flesh. This is an easy way to remove the skin and makes clean up a snap!
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  1. Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Maple Syrup “Sugaring” and Recipes

  2. Jana

    I just purchased salmon yesterday to cook. I think I will be using your recipe, it sounds so good! Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting you from Foodie-Friday party.

    1. Ann

      Thank you very much, Carrie! I just visited your blog and I see a fantastic variety of great recipes. I am honored that you included this one!

  3. Mary Lou Keller

    Good afternoon Ann.. just found this recipe and I am going to make it tonight, I have samon thawing in the fridge. Might be an odd pairing, but I am also making the crispy topped mac and cheese for the side, I am wanting comfort food in the worst way with this cold snap we are in the midst of.

  4. Diane

    I use this recipe every time I have salmon or steelhead trout….Absolutely love it!!! Has anyone tried it on whitefish at all? I have thought about it but have been chicken to try it.

    1. Ann

      I am thrilled you love this as much as we do, Diane. Out of habit–and because we love it–I always prepare it with salmon. Black cod or even an regular cod could be tasty. And I think the flavors would pair nicely with pork. If you try something else, I would love to know!

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  6. Carol Sacks

    Hi Ann, I just served this salmon to my family and they ate every bite — including my daughter, who isn’t crazy for salmon. It’s a terrific recipe. I’ll be making this often.

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  8. Mary Lou Keller

    This recipe popped up in my Facebook feed and reminded me i never made it. I need to remedy that!
    Hope you are doing well!

    1. Ann

      So good to “see” you, Mary Lou! All is well here–rather cold and snowy. I hope you are doing well, too, and that you enjoy the salmon!

  9. Mary Lou Keller

    I finally got around to making tonight. It is a keeper for sure! The salmon fillet I had was kind of thin, and I wound up cooking too long but it was still amazing.