5-Ingredient Firecracker Sauce Makes Salmon So Much Better

updated Mar 10, 2020
One-Pan Firecracker Salmon

Firecracker salmon is coated with a sweet and spicy sauce, which is such a great partner to the richness of the fish.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Olwen Phillips

Firecracker sauce is a five-ingredient sauce that explodes with sweet and spicy flavor. It packs just enough warm, spicy heat to tickle your tongue, and while the heat lingers in your mouth, it never intensifies or overwhelms. It’s the perfect complement to any rich fish like salmon.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Olwen Phillips

Stovetop Salmon That’s All About the Sauce

While many recipes for skillet salmon start by cooking the fish skin-side down to give the skin a cracker-like crisp, this version takes a different approach. That’s because it’s all about the sauce. You’ll start by searing the dried and seasoned fillets skin-side up, with the flesh against the hot skillet, for four to five minutes. Then comes the good part. After flipping the fillets and giving them a minute to settle against the pan, you’ll pour the sticky firecracker sauce over the fish, basting the fillets for the final minutes of cooking.

One-Pan Firecracker Salmon

Firecracker salmon is coated with a sweet and spicy sauce, which is such a great partner to the richness of the fish.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce)

    skin-on salmon fillets

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot

  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2

    medium scallions

Instructions

  1. Let 4 salmon fillets sit at room temperature while you prepare the sauce.

  2. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Place the garlic, 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup hot sauce, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir and remove from the heat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

  3. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and season all over with the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salmon skin-side up and and sear until golden-brown on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, thinly slice 2 scallions.

  5. Flip the salmon with a metal spatula. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce evenly over the salmon and continue to cook, occasionally using a spoon to baste the salmon with the sauce, until the salmon is just cooked through cooked, about 2 minutes more.

  6. Serve with the sauce from the skillet spooned over the salmon and sprinkled with scallions.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The sauce can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Heat over low heat before preparing the salmon.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.