This Bourbon Salmon with Pecans is topped with pecans and a maple bourbon sauce, and then baked to juicy, flaky perfection.
Any true bourbon lover probably knows that one nut rises above the rest. One nut in particular pairs so well with this earthy distilled spirit, that it’s as if it was made to be soaked in bourbon. Which nut? It is, of course– the nut that graces the top of chocolate bourbon balls– the pecan.
Happily, both pecans AND bourbon pair extremely well with one of my favorite fish– SALMON. This tasty pecan and bourbon salmon is coated in the nutty topping, and then baked to juicy, flaky perfection.
Why Choose Sockeye Salmon?
Do you have a favorite kind of salmon? Did you know that different types of salmon will taste… well… different from one another? (And yes, that means that some of you might even think that you don’t LIKE salmon– but just haven’t found the TYPE you prefer yet.)
In general, farmed salmon will be a little fattier than wild salmon, with a milder flavor. Wild salmon will be a little leaner (but still loaded with healthy omega-3s), with richer, wilder flavors.
My absolute favorite is– most DEFINITELY– sockeye salmon. Sockeye salmon is a type of wild Pacific salmon. It’s lean, but still full of rich, flavorful oils. It’s firm, and holds up beautifully on a grill, sears perfectly, and is incredibly easy to bake.
Plus, in this recipe, where the nuts add another layer of richness, the strong flavor of the wild salmon provides an interesting counterpoint.
Learn more about salmon: Check out this post: Types of Salmon: An Ultimate Guide.
Making Bourbon Salmon with Pecans
If this recipe looks complicated– don’t worry! It’s simple!
First, you’ll make the bourbon and maple sauce. It only takes a few minutes, but needs your full attention.
Next, add chopped pecans and breadcrumbs to the sauce. You can skip the breadcrumbs if you want, but I think the texture is slightly nicer with them there.
Refrigerate the breadcrumb / sauce mixture for a few minutes. This will help it harden up, and make it easier to spread.
Next, use a spoon to layer the pecan mixture on top of salmon fillets.
Finally, bake it. Serve these nutty, delicious bourbon salmon fillets while everything is still hot, and enjoy this rich and decadent dinner!
Want more SALMON? Try these:
Want more BOURBON recipes? Try these:
- Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole
- Pan-Seared Halibut with Bourbon Sauce
- Grilled Scallops with Bourbon Sauce
Bourbon Salmon with Pecans
Easy and rich seafood entrée. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, and the pecan and bourbon topping can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen.
- 2 salmon fillets (~4oz per person)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs (optional)
- diced green onion, parsley, and or basil to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Pat salmon dry, and then sprinkle it with salt. Add salmon to a baking dish or lined baking sheet, and set in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
Next, pour balsamic vinegar and bourbon together and set aside. Keep the balsamic-bourbon mixture within arm's reach, so that you can grab it quickly when the syrup is ready.
Pour maple syrup into a small, heavy bottom pot and turn heat to medium. In about 1-2 minutes, the syrup should start to bubble. Stir it with a wooden spoon until the syrup darkens in color and turns amber (about 3 more minutes). (*Note- The caramelizing syrup will be EXTREMELY hot. Do not touch it or attempt to taste it at this point.)
Carefully, standing back from the pot in case of splash-back, pour the balsamic and bourbon mixture into the pot with the syrup. Stir, and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Take sauce off the heat, and set aside.
Pour the pecans and breadcrumbs into the pot with the bourbon sauce, and stir together. Set the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes, OR the freezer for about 5 minutes, until it's cooled and hardened slightly.
Take the salmon out of the fridge, and the pecan mixture out of the fridge or freezer. Use a spoon to divide the pecan mixture over the top of the salmon, and smooth it out into an even layer. (Depending on the size of your salmon, you might end up with extra topping. Any extra can be put in an airtight container and refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for a few months.)
Bake salmon on the center rack for about 8 minutes per inch of thickness. Top salmon with fresh herbs if desired, and serve immediately.