Brown Sugar Faroe Island Salmon is Sweet as Candy!


A traditional baked haddock is my go-to when I need a crowd-pleasing fish dish. However, when the crowd wants something different, it is good to know I can get quality salmon for a decent price. My local seafood markets often stock high grade farmed salmon, and wild on occasion. I recently got two pounds of Hiddenfjord brand Faroe Island Salmon thanks to the excellent team down at Cape Ann Lobstermen.

It’s not exactly a secret that salmon and brown sugar are a match made in heaven. The oils in salmon meld with the sugar crystals in a way that is almost foolproof. I never ate a lot of salmon, until about 2019, but now salmon is everywhere. It’s the world’s favorite fish so I tend to eat more of it than I would prefer, for the sake of the website.

Hiddenfjord faroe island salmon

In its raw form, Faroe Island Salmon is almost dripping with fat, with distinctive white lines of silkiness. Even the fattest wild king don’t get to this level, which makes it hard for me to compare high quality farmed salmon to wild salmon.

Wild versus Farmed Salmon

This leads to the inevitable question about my take on wild vs. farmed: I see wild caught more like game – a nice piece of venison or a boar steak. We ate plenty of venison growing up and I love it…but I don’t expect it to taste like a Kansas City rib-eye. It has its own flavor and texture profile, and like most wild game, it is much leaner than domesticated animals.

Wild salmon can be expensive, and rightly so. Wild Alaskan king salmon was selling for $30 per pound at Whole Foods when I wrote this. My experiences with the cheaper wild species like pink salmon have so far, been disappointing. I’m on the US East coast so I consider wild salmon a rare treat, best enjoyed in season, if possible. If I lived on the West coast, I would have better access to quality wild salmon and would choose that. I personally don’t agree with farming salmon in areas where it competes with a wild salmon fishery.

Farmed salmon is getting more and more like domesticated beef, including the varying degrees of quality. Much of the farmed salmon out there is the equivalent of a generic supermarket steak. There is a lot of bad farmed fish out there and I avoid it if I’m not familiar with the brand. I would rather spend money on local, wild fish than cheap farmed salmon.

Why I Like Faroe Island Salmon

Faroe Island salmon, in particular Hiddenfjord and Bakkafrost, produce fish of a higher quality using a high-grade feed, natural pigment sources, no antibiotics and no overcrowded sea pens. With the amount of marbling on their fish, Faroe Island is the aquatic equivalent of Wagyu beef, in relative quality, not price. The beautiful fillets I bought recently were still less than half the price of Whole Foods Alaskan king salmon.

We all expect to pay a little more for Angus, or local grass-fed beef so it makes sense to do the same with farm-raised. For a few dollars more you are get a better raised, much better tasting, and an overall healthier product. This is my farmed salmon of choice until I find a reason not to choose Faroe Island salmon.

Faroe Island Salmon with Brown Sugar and Maple Syrup

Recipe by Buying SeafoodCuisine: SeafoodDifficulty: Easy
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Thicker pieces of fish, center cuts, work best for this recipe. If you have thin fillets you may want to use less topping, so you can still taste the salmon.

Ingredients

  • 1.5-2lbs high quality Salmon, trimmed and pin bones removed.

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

  • 3-4 Lemons zested and sliced thin.

  • 1 bunch fresh Dill, sprigs and some chopped.

  • 1 tbsp. dried Herbs: Thyme, Sage

  • 3 tbsps. Butter

  • 2-3 tbsps. Maple Syrup (Grade A Amber)

  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  • Make topping by mixing brown sugar, lemon zest, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Set aside to let flavors meld.
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Grease a large baking pan or use parchment paper and line with slices of citrus fruit and then sprigs of dill.

    citrus layer for salmon
  • Trim fish and check for pin bones. Place fillets on citrus and lightly season.
    Salmon on citrus
  • Gently place brown sugar topping on the salmon. Tuck any spills under the fish. Drizzle maple syrup over the topping and then place butter atop.
    salmon ready for oven
  • Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness.

Notes

  • Adding oranges to your citrus is a great tasting option. If you have seedless varieties, you can serve the cooked slices with the fish – even the rind will be tender and delicious.
  • You can choose to remove the skin before cooking, but it should be easily removed after cooking.

Many chefs suggest brine salmon before cooking to avoid the messy white albumen from oozing out. I feel like that is more of a problem when there is a lot of gray matter on the fillets. Faroe Island salmon has very little gray matter so I decided not to brine. and there wasn’t too much “white stuff.”

The Verdict on the Faroe Island Salmon

Brown sugar salmon w potatoes

This did not come out good…this came out fantastic! When you work with ingredients of this quality, it’s probably going to come out good no matter what. The only thing that may go wrong is overcooking.

The rub was obviously sweet, but not cloying. The savory thyme and sage enhanced the flavor. Faroe Island salmon has a deep flavor that is mellowed by all the fat, which makes for a silky-smooth experience.

This easy recipe has become very popular in my household, and I think it will be in yours as well. Try it with a piece of wild salmon, steelhead trout or Arctic char for a slightly different flavor.