Paula Deen's salmon recipe inspired me, but I twisted her recipe around a bit and added some flair. I've learned you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater - or in this case - don't throw out your marinade! It makes a savory finishing sauce for your salmon! I'll go head-to-head with Paula any time with this version of the dish! It's THAT good!
4 portion size boneless salmon fillets
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 6 oz. can Dole pineapple juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (yes, you need to use fresh ginger - it makes a difference!)
2 cloves fresh garlic, mashed & minced
1 medium tomato, chopped into small cubes
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (bite-size) (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Place the salmon in a large ziploc bag.
2. In a bowl, combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, pineapple juice, ginger & garlic. Add marinade to the bag with the salmon in it. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or all day. (Really, you can do this for 24 hours and it's fine.)
3. Place tomatoes, (pineapple chunks, if using), salt, & sugar in a saucepan and set aside.
4. Remove salmon filets from the ziploc bag and place on an olive oiled grilling tray that's got holes in it, so the flames will hit the fish - but the tray will prevent your fish from sticking to your grill and falling into the fire.) (I love this grill basket/tray from Sur La Table. It's a good investment because you can grill veggies on here, too and they won't fall through the grates!) (If you can't find a grill tray, a wire grill basket will also work, or use some maple grill planks - even better!)
5. Pour the marinade into the saucepan with the tomatoes. Start heating the marinade on the stove, stirring occasionally. Bring it to a boil*. Then simmer for an additional 15 minutes over low heat.
6. Grill your salmon flipping the fillets only once during the cooking process when it's cooked about half way through. You don't want to flip the salmon more than once because that's how the fillets fall apart. (not pretty for presentation) It's hard to say how long it will take the salmon to get done because it depends on the thickness of your fillets. I check mine after 10 minutes, then flip the fillets, and you can sort of see how the pink changes to a lighter, firmer pink on the sides of the fillets. My best guess is it will take 15 - 20 minutes, depending upon your grill heat, too. I have a grilling 6th sense. I grill so much I can just "see" when something is done.
7. Serve the salmon and spoon enough of the finishing sauce over each fillet. The flavor "pow" comes from the combination of the salmon and the sauce together, so this is a "dip into the sauce" before each bite kind of experience.
* Bringing leftover marinade to a boil and then simmering it kills all of the residual bacteria from uncooked fish, poultry, beef, etc. There is so much wonderful flavor infused in a marinade, I have learned to think twice before just dumping it down the drain. It makes a wonderful sauce or gravy in many instances! You can always thicken it with a cornstarch-water paste, or a Wondra/flour-water paste, too, by whisking it into the marinade while it's simmering stovetop.
Paula Deen's version serves up a side of cold salsa while I feel the dish has more mouthwatering impact when all components are warmed. Additionally, she discards the marinade, which I feel is a big mistake.