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Caramelized Salmon

Serves Serves 4     adjust servings


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound of salmon, cut into 4 filets, with or without skin (frozen salmon filets work great. Thaw them first of course)
  • olive oil


  1. Combine the sugar, salt, and black pepper on a plate. Dip each filet into the mixture and coat all sides of the salmon with the mixture.
  2. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. (Use a pan that can go in the oven. I used my cast iron skillet.) When the oil is shimmering, add the salmon, skin side down if you have skin-on, and saute for about 5 minutes. The sugar will burn on the pan, but don't worry that's supposed to happen. If you’re worried about it, just drain it off or spoon it out of the pan. If there’s a lot of oil splattering, turn the heat down. Don't go higher than medium heat.
  3. Flip each salmon filet, being as delicate as possible. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. If the filet is thick enough, saute the 3rd and 4th sides for another 2-3 minutes each.
  4. Preheat the broiler to 450 degrees and move a rack to the top position. Sprinkle the top of each salmon filet with a teaspoon or two of additional sugar/salt mixture. Transfer the pan from the stovetop into the oven. Let the salmon broil for 5-10 minutes, (if using frozen salmon filets, 5 will be plenty) checking occasionally to make sure the salmon is not burning. The sugar in the pan will burn but that’s okay as long as the tops of the salmon are looking golden brown. When the salmon is done cooking, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes (be really careful, it's super hot). Gently peel off the skin (if you have it) before eating – it will be very dark because it’s caramelized with sugar, and it should come off very easily.