Spice Up Your Average Weeknight Meal with This Chef’s Tangy Whiskey and Sweet Tea Glazed Salmon

glazed salmon by Jocelyn Delk Adams

Clarkson Potter/Brittany Conerly

Chef Jocelyn Delk Adams is here to give new life to your favorite fish dish.

My favorite memories of visiting my grandparents in Mississippi are the simplest ones. Many of them are about just being still, like people-watching on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea. That tea goes down smooth, keeps ya nice and alert, and cools you off. I’d add a squeeze of lemon, especially refreshing on a sweltering day. (The grown-ups may have added a splash of whiskey — the caramel notes in the liquor complement the black tea flavor.)

Back then, time seemed to move slowly, and nothing was more important than just chillin’ with loved ones, saying hello to passersby, and feeling the summer breeze against your neck. When you long for simpler days, this salmon, glazed with a reduction of whiskey and citrusy sweet tea, does the trick.

Whiskey and Sweet Tea Glazed Salmon

Serves 6

Whiskey-tea glaze ingredients
½ cup whiskey
1 black tea bag, or 2 tsp of loose black tea in a tea ball
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp finely grated
lemon zest
1½ Tbsp fresh lemon
juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tsp minced or finely
grated garlic
¼ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp freshly ground
black pepper

Salmon ingredients
1 Tbsp canola oil or other neutral oil
2 pounds fresh salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught
1½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground
black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp Cajun seasoning
1⁄8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Make the whiskey-tea glaze: In a small pot, combine the whiskey with 1 cup water and bring to a brisk boil over medium-high heat.

Add the tea bag and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to really get that tea flavor in there. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and black pepper, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the liquid reduces and starts to look like a thick syrup, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, discard the tea bag, and set the glaze aside; you should have ¼ cup to 1⁄3 cup glaze.

Make the salmon: Position one rack in the middle of the oven and another about 6 inches away from the broiler heating element and preheat to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease it with the oil.

Pat the salmon dry on both sides. In a small bowl, whisk up the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne (if using) until combined.

Arrange the salmon skin-side down along the center of the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the seasoning on top of the salmon pieces, making sure to pat it in.

Spoon that bomb glaze over the salmon and fold up the sides of the foil to completely enclose the fillets. (If you need more foil, just layer another piece over the top and close.)

Bake for about 13 minutes, until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully open the foil pouch to expose the salmon. Switch the oven to broil and slide the baking sheet onto the top rack. Broil for about 2 minutes, until golden, then remove from the oven.

Divide the salmon among six plates and serve it up right away.

Jocelyn Delk Adams is the founder, author, national television personality and brand ambassador behind the award winning cookbook Grandbaby Cakes and the website Grandbaby-Cakes.com, which gives her family’s cherished generational recipes a modern spin.

Recipe from Everyday Grand copyright © 2023 by Jocelyn Delk Adams — purchase Everyday Grand here. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Brittany Conerly. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.