While bacon wrapping may have seemed like an over-the-top fad (which it often was), there are some solid culinary reasons why the technique was probably first devised.
First, and foremost, bacon contains a lot of fat, which helps insulate leaner cuts of meat and fish from the intense heat of a grill, while continuously basting them with the oil rendered out of the pork. Secondly it seasons what’s inside with both the flavor and salt from the smoked pork. Finally in the case of fish, it not only prevents the fish from sticking to a grill, it lends structure, keeping it from falling apart.
If you’ve ever “accidentally” spilled maple syrup on your bacon at breakfast, I don’t need to tell you how well crisp smoky bacon and nutty maple syrup go together. Add to that some whole grain mustard and bright lemon zest and you have the makings for some wonderfully complex flavors from only a handful of ingredients. These all come together into a glaze that coats the bacon wrapped salmon, caramelizing on the grill to create a crisp, sweet and savory shell that keeps the salmon moist while giving it a big boost in the flavor department.
For this dish, I like using salmon steaks because they yield two perfect sized fillets and are cheaper than salmon that’s been filleted at your fish monger. You’ll need to debone them, but here’s a great video that shows you how.
Bacon-Wrapped Salmon with Maple Mustard Sauce
- 450 gram (16 ounce) salmon steak
- 6 strips of bacon
- 3 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- ½ a lemon zested
- Debone the steak, and then remove the skin from both fillets.
- Sprinkle salt on both sides of each fillet.
- Tightly wrap each fillet with 3 strips of bacon. Insert toothpicks from both sides to secure the bacon in place.
- For the glaze, stir the maple syrup, mustard together and lemon zest together.
- If you are using a gas/charcoal grill (heat source below), Heat your grill until hot. Place the bacon wrapped salmon on the grill and leave until the bacon crisps. Drizzle the maple mustard glaze on top, and then flip the salmon over. Baste the other side with the glaze and continue grilling until an instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees F.
- If you are using a broiler (heat source above), move your oven rack to the top position and turn the broiler on. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet and preheat the rack under the broiler for a few minutes. Place the bacon wrapped salmon on the rack and broil until the bacon starts browning. Drizzle the maple mustard glaze onto the tops of the salmon a few times, putting the salmon back under the broiler after each coating to caramelize. Remove the salmon when an instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees F.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.