Molasses Glazed Wild Salmon with Acorn Squash
This post is sponsored by Wild For Salmon. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience.
Wild salmon is a vital part of our family diet at home, and at the same time, it represents so much more than a food source for me. In many ways, it is a bastion of our global health and the human capacity for love.
Salmon shields us from fear of death by showing us how to give of ourselves for things greater than ourselves. — David James Duncan from his book, My Story as Told by Water
The diversity of salmon in the river–Chinook, Chum, Pink, and Coho–ensured that the people would not go hungry, likewise the forests. Swimming many miles inland, they brought a much-needed resource for the trees: nitrogen. The spent carcasses of spawned-out salmon, dragged into the woods by bears and eagles and people, fertilized the trees as well as Skunk Cabbage. Using stable isotope analysis, scientists traced the source of nitrogen in the wood of ancient forests all the way back to the ocean. Salmon fed everyone.
For local communities, wild salmon provides livelihoods, breeding an entire industry designed to protect their habitat, process sustainably harvested catch, and distribute nutrient-rich seafood globally.
Why it’s Important to Know Wild Salmon is in Danger
For the past two decades, local Native tribes and Salmon Warriors have been battling the approval of one of the world’s largest copper mines in Bristol Bay, Alaska, one of the last pristine, all-wild salmon runs in the world.
Last week, we had an incredible announcement: the Army Corps officially vetoed the project! (Read the full story at savebristolbay.org). This was an enormous win for the planet and the communities intertwined with salmon (if you eat salmon, that includes you!).
And, this likely won’t be the last threat to Salmon’s population.
So, what can we do? Well, ironically, we can EAT wild salmon!
Mark Titus, the filmmaker of the riveting documentary The Wild, explains,
This seems counterintuitive at first blush. Why would you kill something you purport to love? But the contention has been and remains, if we demand wild salmon on our plates, we will demand the pristine habitat for them to continue coming back to us in perpetuity.
Since my trip to Alaska in 2015, I am a complete convert. I only eat wild salmon, and fact checks other seafood (wild or farmed) for sustainability Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
Reasons to Buy Wild For Salmon
One of my favorite purveyors is Wild For Salmon, owned by the amazing fishing duo, Steve & Jenn Kurian, who spend their summers in Bristol Bay harvesting a range of seafood, including sockeye salmon, scallops, shrimp, albacore tuna, and so much more.
- They have several pre-packaged products like salmon burgers and salmon ravioli, which have revolutionized quick dinners in my family.
- They’ve formed a “community-supported fishery” (CSF) where they sell their products at affordable prices through local buying clubs or directly to customers’ doors.
- Everything arrives frozen, which contrary to popular opinion, far exceeds the quality of “fresh” seafood one would find at the supermarket. It doesn’t degrade texture or flavor. Their seafood has been frozen at peak flavor within hours of harvest and remains frozen during transport.
- My freezer is always stocked with pre-portioned, nutrient-dense, flavor-bursting options! It requires a little planning to defrost the seafood in the refrigerator overnight, or before heading to work in the morning, but honestly, it’s a simple habit to pick up and one you won’t regret.
Ginger-Molasses Glazed Wild Salmon
Speaking of a stocked freezer…I made a rule for myself to go through all the food I had in my kitchen before buying more at the store. That’s how this recipe came together.
I wanted something rich and seasonal, healthy, and delicious. This pan-seared salmon recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free and is now officially my favorite way to prepare wild sockeye salmon filets. The sticky-sweet molasses-ginger glaze is heavenly, and the acorn squash is caramelized with onions, adding a sweet pairing to the salmon. The pomegranate seeds add a bright crunch and pop of color that elevates the dish.
The final dish was a hit for my family, and given that I have loads more squash and salmon to plow through, it’s officially in the meal rotation.
With love and gratitude // Emma
More Wild For Salmon RecipesPrint
Molasses Glazed Salmon with Roasted Acorn Squash
You can substitute the acorn squash with any other squash, like butternut or pumpkin; if you cut it into smaller pieces, it will cook even faster.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
- Yield: About 4 servings 1x
For molasses-ginger glaze:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 10 turns of the pepper mill
For the salmon & squash:
- 2 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 20 turns pepper mill
- 2 portions Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon, defrosted
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and position one rack in the middle and another in the top third of the oven.
- To prepare the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, molasses, grated ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Add cubed squash, onions, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and pepper to a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with your hands to coat the squash with oil and seasoning. Roast on the middle rack for 30 minutes, until onions begin to caramelize and squash is soft. After 30 minutes, toss the squash with a spatula and continue roasting for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the salmon to a shallow dish with the glaze. Flip the salmon, coating both sides with the glaze and refrigerate. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to a well-seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet and heat over medium. When hot, add the salmon to the pan skin-side down and pour the glaze from the glaze over top. Allow to sizzle for one minute on the stovetop, then transfer the pan to the top rack in the oven for 10 minutes, while the squash finishes cooking. The glaze will reduce into a beautiful, tangy, sticky sauce. To double check if the salmon is ready, see if it flakes away easily with a fork.
- I love serving this dish right in the cast iron pan! Scatter the roasted squash around the salmon portions and sprinkle the pomegranate arils and optional parsley over top. Just be sure to warn fellow eaters that the serving pan is piping hot! Best if you dish out portions yourself, using an oven mitt to hold the handle.
ADVENTURE WITH ME