Pomegranate-Balsamic Glazed Salmon

April 23, 2012

The 12th season of America’s Test Kitchen features an episode making Asian Barbecue Glazed Salmon, which I made 3 months ago and gave 4-stars. Today I made a variation, using a Pomegranate-Balsamic Glaze.  The flavors were deeply sweet and rich, perhaps a little too sweet. I’m not sure if I used too much brown sugar, or perhaps the brown sugar needs to be cut down to 2 tablespoons owing to the inherent sweetness of the pomegranate. Still, it was delicious and the extra sweetness made it very kid-friendly. I give this variation 4-stars, and prefer this variation over the Asian Barbecue. I can imagine that better balancing the sweetness could yield up-to 4-1/2 stars.

Delicious glaze if you can find 100% pomegranate juice


  1. I never though pomegranate juice was hard to find, until I started reading the labels. The juice aisle only has “Pomegranate Juice Cocktail”; of course the word cocktail is in microscopic letters. Even stores that sell “Pom” (the only brand I found with 100% Pomegranate Juice) sells mostly mixes containing other juices. Finally at the 3rd supermarket I found and 8-oz bottle of 100% Pomegranate Juice for $2.49.  I only needed about 1-1/2 ounces, and will probably use the rest for making sangria.
  2. I made the glaze while the salmon was in the oven, as it only takes a 2 minutes on the stove-top. However, it was too thin and could have used 4 to 5 minutes to cool down and thicken. Still, there was plenty of glaze so I just reapplied.
  3. Also, I disagree with Chris Kimball’s instructions to cook until reaching an internal temperature of only 125-degrees; it’s not well cooked for my family’s taste. While the FDA recommends cooking fish steaks to 145-degrees, most other websites recommend cooking until 140-dergees. Today I cooked in to 145-degrees which seemed perfect for my taste.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $16.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 5:20 PM. Finish time 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here and also here, and the glaze recipe is here.  The descriptions of how I prepared this today are given below:

Pomegranate-Balsamic Glaze:
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon cornstarch
pinch cayenne pepper

1-1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 center-cut salmon fillets (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds total)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  1. Preheat your oven to 300-degrees, and set an oven rack in middle position. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, kosher salt and cornstarch. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut your salmon filet into 4 equally sized pieces. Use paper towels to dry the salmon’s surface. Grind some fresh black pepper on the meat-side, then evenly sprinkle the sugar/salt mixture. Rub into fish so that it evenly covers the meat.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to 12″, oven-safe, non-stick skillet. Place over a medium-high burner and pre-heat until it just begins to smoke. Sear salmon, skin-side up, for 2 minutes until forms a browned crust. Use tongs to skip the fish steaks and cook with the skin-side down for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from burner and evenly coat the glaze over the exposed meat. Put skillet in pre-heated oven and bake from 10 minutes. When done, the thickest part of the fish should read 145-degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  4. As soon as the salmon goes into the oven, combine all sauce ingredients in small saucepan; whisk until combined. Over medium-high heat, bring the sauce up to boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove pan from burner and cover to keep the sauce warm until you are ready to put the salmon in the oven.
  5. Place cooked salmon on individual serving plates and pass any remaining glaze separately.

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