According to the Smithsonian, seafood was part of the First Thanksgiving menu. So in honor of the First Thanksgiving and any pescatarians (those who don't eat meat or animal flesh, but will eat fish or other seafood) at your dinner table, I have for you this salmon dish.
Growing up we always had seafood on Thanksgiving with dungeness crab, lobster and/or giant prawns. I remember the first time Brian came with me, and I mentioned to my mom that Brian doesn't really eat seafood. She had gone to the store and picked up a rotisserie chicken for him. Love her!
The executive chef at Pour House Pints & Pies in Austin, catered our close family friend's daughters' (practically cousins) First Communion dinner celebration and part of the fabulous menu was something like this salmon dish. At the end of the party, when asked if I wanted to take anything home because there was a lot of leftovers as with all parties, I already knew what I wanted.
I thought I could recreate the recipe, but at the last minute I asked for it or I asked Brian to ask for it. I thought it was all maple, but instead it's honey. I made a few changes to the original recipe and I still came out on top. Here's my take, perfect for Thanksgiving!
MAPLE HONEY PECAN CRUSTED SLOW-COOKED SALMON
Inspired by Chef Patrick E.
Serves 6 to 8 (1 whole salmon side)
Marinade equals 6 whole salmon sides or 3 salmons
<for the marinade>
1 1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
<for the salmon>
1 whole side (about 3 pounds) salmon, skin on
Dashes of House seasoning (1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder)
2 cups pecan halves, 1 1/2 cup kept whole and 1/2 cup roughed chopped
1/3 cup maple honey marinade
1/2 lime, juice
<making the marinade>
Combine in a mason jar or bowl: maple syrup, honey, coarse salt, chili powder, paprika and cayenne pepper.
Shake or stir well, and set aside.
<preparing the salmon>
Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
Place the salmon, skin-side down, in the baking pan.
Sprinkle the top with house seasoning.
Toss the pecans and 1/3 cup maple honey marinade in a small bowl.
Lay the pecan mixture on top of the salmon, press down on it.
Squeeze lime over the pecan crusted salmon.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
<slow-cooking the salmon>
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Place a small pan of warm water on the lowest rack in the oven.
Bake the salmon that's on the parchment lined baking pan on the middle rack for 75 to 90 minutes (1 hr 15 mins to 1 1/2 hours), depending on the thickness.
Remove from the oven.
Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes, or up to 3 hours at room temperature.
For every 3 pound whole salmon side, it's 1/3 cup marinade, 2 cups pecans and 1/2 lime.
Bake the salmon uncovered.
Leaving the skin on the salmon helps it retain its moisture.
Adding a pan of water in the oven, creates a humid environment that also helps the salmon retain its moisture, as salmon tends to dry out.