Caramel salmon is a Vietnamese inspired dish that’s not only packed with delightful sweet and salty flavors, but it’s made with a handful of ingredients in just a few minutes. In this recipe, the caramel is prepared with sugar and fish sauce, and thinned by a splash of water for a deep brown hue that glazes the fish beautifully, and when paired with wilted greens – has extraordinary texture and taste.
The first step is to give the salmon a quick sear, which presents a crust on the outside and preserves a slightly pinkish center. Making caramel sauce can sometimes be tricky, but this sauce is made in just 2 minutes, in the same pan you sear the fish – so don’t be intimidated. It’s a simple deliciousness without much fuss and makes a good weeknight meal in no time.
2-4 six ounce salmon fillets
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
pinch of salt
3 cups kale, spinach or other bitter greens
salt & pepper
1. Pat dry salmon and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a wok or large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil, place over medium-high heat. After 2 minutes, add salmon to wok, flesh side down. Cook fish for 2 minutes, flip over and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove fish from wok and rest on plate. Drain oil from wok and wipe clean with paper towel.
2. Add sugar to wok and place over medium-high heat. When sugar begins to darken, about 30 seconds, lift wok and swirl gently over heat, until sugar is completely melted and darkened, about 2 minutes. Place back on heat and add 1/3 cup hot water, fish sauce and salt. Swirl mixture again in pan. If liquid is too thick, add a tablespoon more water, swirl to combine.
3. Add fish, flesh side down, into sauce and place greens around perimeter. Cook for 3 minutes, occasionally stir greens to wilt and combine with sauce. Remove from heat. Place each fillet on plate with greens and squeeze lemon juice over top. Enjoy!