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Recipe

Vietnamese Caramel Salmon

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Dark caramel is so commonly used in Vietnamese kitchens that it’s often made in batches and kept by the stove. While it adds a hint of sweetness, it’s prized more for its savory, toasty notes. On salmon, it’s incredible, especially when paired with a tangy carrot slaw to balance the flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice; more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely grated or julienned (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably wild, pin bones removed, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 110
  • Fat (g): 13
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 100
  • Sodium (mg): 740
  • Carbohydrates (g): 19
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 41

Preparation

  • Heat the sugar in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook, tilting the pan occasionally to help the sugar melt evenly, until dark amber (like maple syrup), about 3 minutes. (If your pan is dark, test the color by dribbling some on a white plate.) Remove from the heat and carefully add 1/4 cup water; it will steam and bubble. Put the skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. of the lime juice and the fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until thick enough for a spoon to leave a trail in the skillet, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, cilantro, and the remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice. Season to taste with more lime juice and salt.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the caramel sauce and 3/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the fish and toss gently to coat. Distribute the fish in a single layer and simmer vigorously, stirring once, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with the carrots.

Reviews

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Reviews (8 reviews)

  • emeinig | 04/21/2021

    I was enthusiastic about making this but unhappy with the end result, I found it very bland. The carrot salad was very refreshing though

  • 2020tb | 04/08/2017

    When melting the sugar, DO NOT REMOVE IT FROM HEAT. Instead, turn the heat to low and SLOOOWLY add water (a few drops at a time). If you add water too quickly, the water will cool down the sugar and it will turn into hard candy.

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