The Miracle of Mustard-Brown-Sugar Salmon

Sometimes you encounter a recipe that’s so simple, it’s not even a recipe, it’s a mere idea… a notion. Such was the case when Sam Sifton linked to this recipe for “Roasted Salmon Glazed with Brown Sugar and Mustard” in The New York Times Cooking newsletter.

Listen how easy: are you ready? Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix mustard and brown sugar together. Put it on well-seasoned salmon. Roast. Eat. The end.

You think I’m kidding? Okay, check it out.

Here’s the brown sugar and the mustard (I used grainy Dijon) that you mix together in equal parts. Make as much as you want and adjust it according to your taste (spicier, sweeter, etc).

Line a cookie sheet with foil and take two equally sized pieces of salmon and lay them on there, skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then slather on your mustard brown sugar mixture (admittedly, I used a lot. But that’s just how I roll.)

Into a 400 degree oven it goes. I used a probe thermometer to make the cooking time easy: when the salmon hit 130, I took it out. (About 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, I’d blanched and shocked some green beans and, no I didn’t toss them in pesto: I tossed them with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, and then sprinkled them with Dukkah from Botanica because they needed a little kick. (Winston agreed.)

I also mixed some thick Greek yogurt with a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper, and lots of chopped herbs (dill, tarragon, parsley).

And then I just lifted the salmon from the cookie sheet on to the plates (leaving the skin behind; if you like crispy skin, this might not be the recipe for you. Or you could start it in a skillet, I suppose, skin-side down, and slather the mixture on and finish in the oven? The sugar would probably burn, though.)


This dinner was such a hit. Craig LOVED the salmon. He did very loud “mmmmms!” and several days later he (unprompted) asked: “When are you going to make that salmon again? It was so good.”

So there you are: a simple recipe that’s not even a recipe. Just memorize it. Got it? There you go.

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