Salmon with Maple, Balsamic Glaze over Spinach with Drunken Raisins

The trick with Salmon is to avoid overcooking.  This recipe relies on a sauce with balsamic and maple flavor to brighten the mild flavors of the Salmon.  Prepare the spinach just before serving.  This recipe contains components from a combination of sources.  The spinach came from Cakebread Cellars and the Salmon came from a long discarded cookbook.  While their recipe called for Veal Demi Glace in the glaze, I like this lighter, simpler version better.


For the glaze.

1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (Cooking).
1/4 Cup Very Good Maple Syrup (grade B – which is actually better than grade A, just to prove that people in Vermont have their own way of doing things.)
Juice of 1 Lemon.
Garlic, 1 clove, minced.
1/4 cup butter, cubed (at room temperature)
1/2 cup water.  room temperature.


Two large packages packed organic baby spinach.
1 cup Golden Raisins
1/2 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
4 cloves garlic, minced (rough – not fine).


One side salmon, halved lengthwise, skin on (preferably) (This recipe was for very small portions for a multi course dinner).
“Trinidad” Seasoning  (this is a great spice from Penzeys that I always use for fish.  Get it online at

Olive Oil.
Grapeseed Oil.



Score skin side with sharp knife.  1 inch waffle pattern.  Season with light dusting of Trinidad seasoning.  Turn over.  Spread olive oil over Salmon and season liberally with seasoning.  Wrap in foil and set aside.

When ready to prepare, half salmon lengthwise with a very sharp knife .  Then cut each side into equal portions to serve guests (20).  (For less people make less Salmon and feel free to cut across the whole fish into a strip between 1.5 and 2 inches wide). Outside, over high heat on the grill or side burners, add enough Grapeseed oil to lightly cover the bottom of a PREHEATED iron pan.  Place Salmon skin side UP into pan.  When the last piece is placed use tongs to turn Salmon skin side down starting with the first pieces to be placed in the pans.  When the last piece is turned the first piece will be ready to come out.  Remove to warm plate.  If you’re making larger pieces let the Salmon cook face down for about 1 minute, then turn it over and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.  The Salmon will be medium rare.  If you like it “weller” cook it longer.  Just don’t overcook it.  (hint, if your salmon is dry you overcooked it).


In 1 tsp Olive Oil saute minced garlic until just brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add combined balsamic, syrup, lemon juice and water.  Bring to a boil.  As soon as the mixture boils turn heat down to simmer and set aside. The mixture should reduce by 2/3rds to a syrupy consistency.

While Salmon is cooking, whisk in the butter, one cube at a time until thoroughly incorporated, remove from heat and reserve for serving.


Preparing the raisins.  In a small saucepan add wine and top with raisins.  Turn heat on after both are in the pan.  (Medium Heat).  Bring the liquid to a boil and then turn heat down to simmer.  Let simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat.  Stir to incorporate the liquid into the raisins.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat until hot.  Add 2 tbs grapeseed oil and saute garlic until just brown and fragrant.  (about 30 seconds). Add all contents of both packages.  (The Spinach will wilt quickly). As soon as the spinach is wilted incorporate the raisins and mix well.

To Serve:

Place a small pile of the spinach on a plate.  Place Salmon, skin side UP, on top of the spinach.  Drizzle liberally with glaze.  Dust with Hawaiian Black salt.  Serve.


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