George Mahaffey's savory salmon is glazed with a spicy molasses sauce and flavored with just the right amount of smoke. It's delicious served hot or at room temperature with or without the Apple Slaw. The salmon is easily smoked in a wok or a deep saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, but if you have a home smoker, use wood chips in place of the tea-sugar mixture.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips

George Mahaffey
December 1997


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For Serving


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat the peanut oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apple juice and boil until the juice is reduced and the onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining glaze ingredients and simmer over moderate heat until thick and syrupy, about 25 minutes. Strain and let cool.

  • Using a sturdy tweezers or small pliers, remove the pin bones from the salmon. Trim away the thin line of fatty flesh that runs the length of the fillet, then halve the fish lengthwise, cutting along the central line. Cut each half crosswise into 5 pieces.

  • In a small bowl, combine the rice, tea and brown sugar. Line a large wok with foil, allowing about 4 inches of overhang all around, and spread the rice mixture in the foil. Set a 10-inch round wire cake rack in the wok 3 inches above the smoking mixture. Set the wok over moderate heat (on a wok ring if you are using a gas stove) and heat until the mixture begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Brush the salmon all over with some of the molasses glaze. Arrange the salmon on the cake rack and quickly cover the wok with the lid. Wearing oven mitts, crimp the overhanging foil all around the lid to completely seal the wok. Cook over moderately high heat just until the fish flakes, about 12 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Arrange the salmon on a baking sheet and brush with some of the molasses glaze. Bake the salmon for about 3 minutes, or until glazed on top. Mound the Apple Slaw on a platter and arrange the salmon around it.

Make Ahead

The glaze can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The smoked salmon can be refrigerated overnight before the final glazing.

Suggested Pairing

While many people love Beaujolais Nouveau with holiday dinners, a Cru Beaujolais, such as Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly, has more stuffing and a juiciness that suits the salmon.