This post is sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. I’m thrilled to be partnering with ASMI to share a series of delicious recipes highlighting sustainable, wild-caught seafood from Alaska.
This Vietnamese caramelized Alaska salmon with vermicelli, quick-pickled carrots and cucumbers, cashews, and nuoc cham is a satisfying and flavorful dinner that’s easy to throw together on a summer evening.
Raise your hand if you love a good vermicelli bowl! They’ve been a favorite of mine for years. When my husband Ben and I lived in Boston, our apartment was in a Vietnamese neighborhood in Dorchester, with several great restaurants and grocery stores. My go-to order was a vermicelli plate with shrimp and pork, carrots, cucumber, fresh herbs, and nuoc cham dipping sauce.
I recently decided to try that winning combination of flavors and textures with wild caught Alaska salmon as the protein, and I’m so glad I did! Using a side of Alaska salmon makes this dish simple to prepare as well as striking in presentation, and it’s fun to serve it family style on a big sheet pan so everyone can help themselves.
With the Alaska salmon harvest coming up, now is the perfect time to plan to enjoy some fish at home. I used Coho salmon from Alaska for this recipe–Coho is the second largest species of salmon, and is a versatile fish that’s great for grilling, broiling, pan-searing, smoking, and poaching. Alaska salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and Vitamin D, all of which are important for the immune system as well as overall health.
Like all seafood from Alaska, Coho salmon is wild caught and the harvest is regulated to ensure quality as well as sustainability. Learn more about how Alaska keeps fishing sustainable here, and read about some of the women who fish in Alaska’s waters here.
For this recipe, Alaska salmon is brushed with a simple glaze of honey and fish sauce. It might seem redundant to use fish sauce on fish, but its savory, umami-packed flavor is perfect with the fresh taste of salmon. Because honey caramelizes more quickly than sugar, it’s the ideal choice for a pop of sweetness in this dish.
In addition to caramelizing the salmon, broiling makes this recipe quite fast, so it’s ideal for busy nights. You can even prepare most of the components of this recipe in advance. The vermicelli can be made the night before–toss it with a little sesame or avocado oil so the noodles don’t stick, store it in the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature while you make the salmon. You can toast the cashews (store in an airtight container on the counter) and julienne the carrots and cucumbers (store separately in the fridge) a day ahead, too. Then when hunger strikes, all you’ll have to do is make the sauce and broil the salmon.
I hope you’ll check out the other recipes I’ve shared in partnership with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute: Alaska sablefish poached in brown butter, stuffed avocados with Alaska crab, sesame-crusted Alaska salmon salad, gluten-free fritto misto with Alaska seafood, and pumpkin alfredo with seared Alaska scallops.
If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy Alaska salmon season, try my crispy honey butter salmon or sheet pan salmon with delicata squash. This slow-baked salmon with herb shallot butter from Well Seasoned is another must try.
*To toast cashews, heat them in a dry pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until browned in spots. **Broilers can vary widely, so the salmon may take more or less time with your broiler and you may need to adjust the distance from the heating element. It's important to keep a close eye on things because food can go from beautiful to burned very quickly. My rule with broiling is to never walk away from the oven!
For the sauce and quick-pickled vegetables:
For the caramelized Alaska salmon:
*To toast cashews, heat them in a dry pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until browned in spots.
**Broilers can vary widely, so the salmon may take more or less time with your broiler and you may need to adjust the distance from the heating element. It's important to keep a close eye on things because food can go from beautiful to burned very quickly. My rule with broiling is to never walk away from the oven!