Bourbon Broiled Salmon

Serves 4. Recipe is reprinted from “Smoke Roots Mountain Harvest: Recipes and Stories Inspired by My Appalachian Home” by Lauren Angelucci McDuffie. “Broiling is such a simple and efficient way to get perfectly cooked, supremely flavorful fish from oven to table. I often season mine with salt and pepper and add little else. Unless I’m making this version, that is. Bourbon-Broiled Salmon is another thing entirely — like salmon with its party dress on, a friend of mine likes to say. In this version, the sauce doubles as a light glaze, which is brushed on the salmon just before it’s finished cooking. Plus, I serve up extra on the side for dunking, drizzling, dipping, and, if you’re so inclined, drinking. No one judges here.” – Lauren Angelucci McDuffie

¾ cup bourbon

⅔ cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon garlic powder


Four (4- to 5-ounce) salmon fillets (skin on or off)

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the bourbon, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, Dijon mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer the mixture, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to gently simmer the glaze, without stirring, until it has reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool for at least 20 minutes before using, to give it a chance to thicken up.

2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Season the flesh side of each fish fillet with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper (or, if they don’t have skin, sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper on each side). Place them, skin-side down, side by side on the baking sheet. Broil for 4 minutes. Remove the salmon from the oven and, using a pastry brush, brush liberally with some of the bourbon sauce. Return the baking sheet to the broiler for 1 minute. Or, if your fillets are particularly thick, check for doneness, and if necessary, go a little longer.

3. Brush the fillets again with the bourbon sauce and transfer to a platter. Pour the extra sauce into a serving dish, and serve alongside the salmon for drizzling and dipping.

Tip: If you brush the sauce on too soon, the sugars in the glaze could burn, so doing it toward the end of cooking and then once more when the fish is out of the oven works out perfectly.