PEPPER-CRUSTED MAPLE-GLAZED SALMON
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper (Grind it yourself, or purchase "cracked" pepper at your grocery store.)
1/2 teaspoon peanut (or other vegetable) oil, or a spritz of oil spray
The deceptively easy yet indescribably delicious maple-soy marinade creates a candied salmon fillet that melts in your mouth, while the black pepper crust provides the perfect savory foil. Even people who don't like fish become devoted converts after one bite.
In a small deep bowl, or a plastic bag, mix maple syrup and soy sauce. Arrange fillets so that marinade completely covers fish. Marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, but ideally 24 hours to do it justice. Turn salmon every few hours.
Preheat oven to 500°F. Rub oil on a 10 x 10-inch sheet of aluminum foil.
Place pepper on a small plate. Remove salmon from marinade and pat topside only into cracked pepper to coat. Place fillets, pepper side up, on foil.
Bake on the top rack of the oven for 7 minutes. Syrup may cause fish to smoke when cooking - don't be alarmed. Salmon can also be grilled directly over hot coals for about 3 minutes per side. Don't even think about using a microwave. Avoid overcooking the fillets. Salmon is best when the color has turned to a pale pink, but the fish is still moist throughout. Serve immediately on warmed plates.
The longer the salmon marinates (up to 48 hours) the better it is, however, it should only be peppered and cooked just before serving.
When multiplying the recipe for larger groups, it is not necessary to increase the marinade proportionately. Just mix enough marinade (in the same 3 parts maple syrup to 1 part soy sauce proportions) to cover all the fillets.