Salmon with Apple-Bourbon Glaze

November 7, 2018 , In: Eat, Mood Food, Recipes , With: No Comments

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Make ahead desserts (check!), make-ahead appetizer (check)… Let’s move on to the main dish! While most people think turkey on Thanksgiving, and I’ll admit it, I am one of them; I am harnessing the power of #tbt and serving Apple Bourbon Glazed Salmon for Thanksgiving dinner!

salmon with brussels sprouts and stuffing

Hear Me Out…

While there isn’t a written menu of what was served at the first Thanksgiving we can take some educated guesses. Historians believe that along with some type of wildfowl, fish and shellfish were likely part of the first Thanksgiving meal. But, it’s been 8 years since I could eat poultry, and with the most recent development that fish/shellfish are safe again, fish will be starring on my table!

Salmon is better than Turkey!

Yeah, I said it. And while this is mostly based on the fact that I can eat salmon but not turkey, I’ve got a few other scientifically nutritious reasons why it’s true. Though, I should note that I’m not a doctor or nutritionist and that diet may be beneficial, it is not an instant solution to any mental health diagnosis.

First off, let me say that despite the low-carb bandwagon everyone seems to be riding these days… Carbs are good for you, ESPECIALLY at Thanksgiving! Whether you’re eating turkey or salmon, stock your plate with carbs too! Why? Because both proteins contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential to humans. And, when consumed with carbs, tryptophan gets absorbed into the brain better!

For anyone with depression and anxiety, the holidays can be a lot to try to handle. Large gatherings in and of themselves increase anxiety levels. Add in the family part and, it can be tough to field questions about your life while you feel like you’re not measuring up to everyone’s standards… But as I wrote in my “Depression Diet” there are foods that provide nutrients to assist the body in creating and neurotransmitters (aka happy chemicals) in your brain. Let’s take a look at how turkey and salmon compare with each other.

Fall Flavors

Am I the only one who gets nerdy about nutrition? Comparing foods and labels is something I actually enjoy doing. No? Well alright. Let’s play a quick word association game then. When I say “Flavors of Fall” what comes to mind? No. Stop it! I’m not doing a pumpkin spice salmon. Try again… What about Apples? Brown sugar? Cinnamon? Heck in Kentucky, we’re coming into Hot Toddy season, so I think bourbon and honey too. All of these flavors come together so well in other dishes… I started thinking about how to use them to dress up salmon for its starring role on the Thanksgiving table.

So, I tend to make salmon at least once (maybe even twice) per week. In order for me to serve salmon for Thanksgiving, it needed to get a flavor boost. During the week we tend to go simple and bake a large filet with simple salt and pepper, or some blackening seasoning. For it to be different for Thanksgiving, it was going to need some fall flavors and a special element to make it a show stopper! That’s when it hit me. Apple Bourbon Glazed Salmon!

Tips for Glazing Salmon

  1. When you buy your fish, ask your fishmonger to skin your salmon for you. It makes for a prettier presentation and less stinky fish waste in your garbage can after dinner!
  2. Cook your glaze first! By gently boiling it and reducing it down before applying it to the salmon, it stays on the fish instead of running off onto the pan. (also see tip #4)
  3. After cooling the glaze, reserve about 1/2 cup of glaze for basting during the bake. In a large baking dish, coat the raw fish with some of the glaze and allow it to marinade for about 15 minutes (no longer than 30 minutes though!)
  4. Line your baking sheet! It’ll help with clean up because there’s sugar in the glaze, which is a pain in the butt to get off of pans that it has “caramelized” onto!
  5. Use the reserved glaze to baste the salmon throughout the cooking process. Make sure to save enough glaze for one final application once it has come out of the oven.
Salmon with Apple-Bourbon Glaze

Salmon with Apple-Bourbon Glaze


  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 TBS dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 lb salmon filet, for easiest serving, slice into portions before cooking


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients over medium-high heat. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved.
  2. Allow sauce to come to a boil, stirring occasionally until it begins to reduce and thicken. Remove from heat and cool completely before marinating the salmon.
    For the salmon:
  1. In a baking dish, coat salmon with glaze. Allow it to marinade for 15-20 minutes. (no more than 30 minutes!)
  2. Meanwhile preheat oven to 410°F.
  3. After marinating, place salmon onto a lined sheet pan. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, basting with glaze a few times.
  4. Remove from oven and top with remaining glaze to serve.
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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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