This recipe uses a foolproof (and splatter-free) way to cook salmon that’s ideal for young chefs. First, a sprinkle of salt and pepper goes over the bottom of a cold nonstick skillet. This helps prevent the fish from sticking to the pan and seasons the salmon. Then, the salmon goes into the (still cold!) pan, skin-side down. The skin helps protect the fish from drying out as it cooks. It also releases fat into the pan, which is then used to cook the second side of the salmon until it’s golden brown—no extra oil needed! The cooked salmon gets a drizzle of a simple sweet and tangy glaze just before serving.
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What You’ll Need
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice, squeezed from 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt and pepper
4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
1 lime, cut in wedges
Science (States of Matter):
The sweet and tangy glaze in this recipe is cooked down until its texture turns from thin and watery to thick and syrupy, which is a perfect opportunity to reinforce kids’ understanding of evaporation (when a liquid turns into a gas). Help kids think through what happens to the glaze in this recipe:
- In step 1, have kids first combine the glaze ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and record its volume (it should be just over ½ cup) before pouring the glaze ingredients into the medium saucepan. Keep the liquid measuring cup handy!
- Ask kids to observe the uncooked glaze and describe its appearance.
- Before spooning the glaze over the salmon, have kids pour the cooked glaze from the saucepan back into the liquid measuring cup (with an adult’s help) and measure how much glaze is left. (It should be less than ½ cup.)
- Ask kids to observe the cooked glaze and describe its appearance.
- Ask: What happened to the glaze as it cooked? What made its texture change so much? (The water in the ingredients turned to steam as it heated up. The steam evaporated, so there’s less water left in the glaze, which gives it a thicker texture.)