Every year from mid-July to September, Sockeye salmon is in season. This prized aquatic animal is leaner, very flavorful and has a deep orange-red hue. Needless to say, it’s packed full of the healthiest omega-3s. Though there’s plenty of this type of salmon on the west coast, the price has always been on the steeper side and got even more expensive post pandemic.
There’s a grocery store in our neighborhood that holds an annual one day sale of this coveted fish. I would always keep my eyes peeled for their printed ads to make sure I don’t miss it. Like I mentioned, this is a yearly event (Fresh St. Market) and the prices of both fileted and whole are both “reasonable”… just for a day. Funny thing is, once I’m faced with piles of salmon at the store, I always have second thoughts which ones to buy…filets or whole. The latter is significantly less expensive but the extra labor I had to do at home is also a valid argument in my decision making. Do I want to spend the extra time of fileting a whole salmon or just take the easier (but expensive) route and buy the filets? Though it’s very tempting, the “wais” (wise) mom in me gravitates towards the cheaper whole … always! The savings add up if you’re buying more than a couple, you know.
Smoked fish is one of the dishes that remind me of home. Actually , hot smoked salmon is available at the supermarket but the price is sky-high. The price of a single serving portion is far from affordable and is definitely not within my budget. I guess our cravings and love for this dish were the reasons this recipe came about.
Buying a smoker, even how small it is, is out of the question. That’s how the store-bought liquid smoke became one of my pantry staples. I could only find the Colgin Hickory Liquid Smoke before but I recently tried another brand that I saw, Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke and they equally work. It gives the salmon that “smoke” flavor without the need for a smoker.
This dish is even easier to make than the Oven-Baked Homemade Tinapa (I skipped the steaming part in this one) and tastes as if it came out of the smoker! This sure is one of my must-try recipes and my picky tinapa eaters can attest to it. I use leftovers (if any) in my Special Pancit Palabok. Hope you love it as much as we do!
Easy Tinapang Salmon (Oven-Smoked Salmon)
- 2 Whole Sockeye Salmon filets, abt 2 – 2 1/2 lbs (or 1 whole Atlantic Salmon filet)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 1/2 tsps salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsps liquid smoke
- Pat salmon dry using paper towels and place in a food-safe container with lid. Combine brown sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and spread evenly over the salmon pieces. Drizzle with liquid smoke. Make sure the fish is coated with the marinade.
- Cover tightly and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, turning the fish after 4 hours. ( It’ll still be fine if you forget this step )
- Take the fish out of the fridge. Discard liquid and transfer to a greased baking tray or line it with parchment ( I used a 12×18 cookie sheet ).
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray some oil on top of the fillet then bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Fish will flake easily once cooked.
- Switch to BROIL (High) then cook for about 3 – 5 minutes. Ends and fatty parts will start to caramelize (see images above). Watch carefully to avoid burning the fish.
- Remove from the oven and serve with rice and vegetables of your choice on the side.