Pecan Crusted Salmon with Maple Bourbon Glaze is an easy and impressive dish that can double as a weeknight meal or a dinner party. On the table in 30 minutes!
Pecan Crusted Salmon
We eat a lot of salmon in my house. It’s a great source of lean protein, and is rich with omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, and antioxidants. Salmon is such an easy way to eat healthily and deliciously.
I also love salmon fillets because they’re easy to prepare and cook quickly. When there’s salmon in the fridge, I have absolutely no excuse to not eat well because of a busy schedule.
Since we have at least one, sometimes two servings a week, I do have to be careful to not fall into a salmon recipe rut. So, I like to switch things up with different seasonings and sauces to keep our tastebuds happy.
This Pecan Crusted Salmon with Maple-Bourbon Glaze has been a fall favorite on our weeknight (and dinner party) rotation for the past couple of years. The crispy, toasted nut and panko crust and sweet-tangy glaze make for an impressive, restaurant-quality salmon dinner that takes just 30 minutes from prep to fork.
What You’ll Need for Pecan Crusted Salmon with Maple Bourbon Glaze
From the Market: salmon fillets • pecans • panko breadcrumbs • smoked paprika • fresh thyme • garlic cloves • maple syrup • Dijon mustard • bourbon • butter
You can make Pecan-Crusted Salmon with just about any of your favorite salmon varieties. I’m never sure of what type I’m going to buy until I arrive at the seafood market. Choose based on what looks freshest and most delicious that day; whether that’s organic Norwegian, Scottish, King, or Sockeye salmon.
I like to use fillets that are about an inch thick for this recipe, with the skin on. Ask your fishmonger to cut or select portions that weigh at about 6 ounces each.
Want to brush up on salmon varieties? My friend (and fellow bourbon fan), Sarah at Champagne Tastes, has a Types of Salmon guide to help you navigate selections at the market.
How to Make It: 30 Minute Meal!
For a dish that makes such an impressive presentation, the preparation couldn’t be simpler. You’ll only need about 15 minutes to prep the crust and glaze before the salmon heads to the oven.
Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. (For easiest cleanup, line the pan with foil first and spray the foil.)
To make the crust, simply stir together chopped pecans with the panko, thyme, paprika, melted butter, and a pinch or two each of salt and pepper. I like to chop the majority of the pecans to a fine texture, leaving a few rustic pieces for texture. (Photos 01-02)
No need to toast the pecans before mixing. They’ll get nice and toasty when they bake with the salmon.
Next, make the base for the glaze. In a saucepan, whisk together maple syrup, bourbon, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper. (Photos 03-04)
Crust the Salmon and Bake
Place the salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Brush a little of the glaze mixture over the tops of each. This will help the crust adhere.
Divide the pecan crust mixture between the tops of the salmon fillets, gently pressing to help them stick. Bake the fillets for 12-14 minutes per inch of thickness (measured at the thickest part of the fillet), or to your desired doneness.
The salmon is ready when it flakes with a fork. The fillets pictured here were a juicy, flaky medium in 12 minutes.
Simmer the Glaze
While the salmon is baking, bring the saucepan with the remaining glaze to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the glaze is glossy and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Don’t cook it down too far, or it will start to harden as it cools.
Want to give the glaze a kick? Try adding a pinch (or more, to taste) of cayenne pepper for a spicy twist.
How to Serve Your Pecan-Crusted Salmon Fillets
I like to let the salmon rest on the pan for just a couple of minutes before serving. Use a thin metal spatula to lift the fillets from the skin and transfer to your serving plates or platter. (Discard the skin – while it helps to roast the fillets skin-on to keep them juicy, it won’t be crispy and doesn’t add to the dish.)
Drizzle each fillet with a little bit of the glaze. You can be as light or heavy handed as you’d like here. Since the glaze is sweet, I like a subtle drizzle.
Pecan Crusted Salmon is delicious served alongside a fall salad (especially one that’s baby spinach based, such as my Delicata Squash Salad), roasted potatoes, or haricots verts. The dish is full-flavored, so you’ll want a side that won’t compete with it or overpower the plate.
Here are More Easy Seafood Dinners for You:
- Crab Stuffed Flounder with Lemon-Dill Aioli
- Linguine with Clams
- Easy Shrimp Scampi
- Tortilla Crusted Tilapia
- Browse the Seafood collection
Pecan Crusted Salmon with Maple-Bourbon Glaze
- 4 salmon fillets , skin-on (about 6 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup finely-chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup unseasoned panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 large garlic clove , minced (or 2 small)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with foil for easy cleanup and spray the foil.
- In a bowl, stir together chopped pecans, panko, thyme, paprika, butter, and a pinch or two each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, stir together maple syrup, Dijon mustard, bourbon, garlic, and pepper.
- Place salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down. Season with salt and pepper, and brush the tops with some of the glaze mixture (just enough to coat). Divide the crust mixture between the tops of the fillets, gently pressing to adhere.
- Roast for 12-14 minutes per 1-inch of thickness, until the fish flakes easily with a fork, or to your desired doneness. (Measure your salmon fillets at the thickest area.)
- While the salmon is roasting, bring the remaining glaze mixture to a boil over medium heat on the stove, stirring frequently. (Watch it carefully - it will bubble up!) Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the glaze is syrupy and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.* Season to taste with salt.
- Use a thin fish spatula to lift the fillets from the skin (discard the skin) and transfer the salmon to your serving plates or platter. Drizzle the tops with the glaze (use as much or as little as you'd like--since the glaze is sweet, I like a light drizzle) and serve.