Garlic Salmon with Black Bean Sauce from the AICR Test Kitchen


As one of the foremost cancer research institutes in the nation, the American Institute for Cancer Research leads the way in making evidence-based recommendations that promote lifestyle choices among the public that can prevent the development of some cancers. To this end, every other week their test kitchen offers a new and delicious recipe.

This week: a healthy dose of omega-3s, cancer-protective allium and fiber from garlic salmon with black bean sauce.

You may know there are different kinds of fat, but did you know that Americans may not be getting enough of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids? These fats (their scientific names are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoicacid (DHA)) are most commonly found in seafood and are linked to lower rates of heart disease death. In fact, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 8 ounces or more of seafood weekly. This salmon dish can help you do just that – it’s loaded with big flavor, healthy fat, cancer-protective garlic and fiber to boot!

The instant marinade works wonderfully because it infuses the salmon with garlic’s aromatic, sweet and spicy flavor. An AICR Foods That Fight Cancer, garlic is protective against colorectal and stomach cancers. Garlic, soy sauce and rice vinegar give the marinade an Asian-style flavor that blends seamlessly with salmon.

Marinating and broiling the salmon at least 6 inches away from the broiler prevent the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form when animal foods are cooked at super high temperatures. While broiling the salmon, the marinade is transformed into a gorgeous garlic glaze. The combination of garlic and molasses makes for a perfectly savory and sweet coating with a bit of richness from the deep buttery notes of the molasses.

Inspired by the use of black bean sauce in Asian cuisine, this version with minced ginger root, garlic and orange zest enriches the sauce with their distinctive flavors, not to mention their health-promoting phytochemicals. Quick to make, high in fiber and much lower in sodium than the jarred variety, this fresh black bean sauce adds an unexpectedly earthy flavor that complements the mildly sweet salmon and adds a beautiful contrast in color to the salmon.

Salmon fillets cut into equal slices guarantee portion control and a pretty arrangement on beds of the black bean sauce. Garnishing plates with orange slices adds a splash of warm color, hints to the orange zest in the black bean sauce, and is a sweet treat on the plate.

Garlic Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce can be served as a jazzed up weekday meal or an elegant dish for weekend entertaining, especially with a simple garden salad tossed with lemon-ginger vinaigrette.

Garlic Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce

  • Black Bean Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1 lb. salmon fillet, cut into 4 equal slices
  • 1 medium orange, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise, optional


Prepare Black Bean Sauce below and keep warm, covered, on low heat.

Adjust oven rack on second rung from top, at least 6 inches from broiler. Turn broiler on high.

In medium bowl, mix together garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, oil and molasses. Stir to combine. Place filets in marinade, turning to coat well.

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange fillets skin side down and pour marinade on top.

Broil salmon until internal temperature is 145 degrees F, about 5-6 minutes.

On four dinner plates, divide Black Bean Sauce in center. With back of spoon swirl sauce in oval shape and clear a line in the oval to set the fillet. Carefully slide long spatula between salmon and skin. Gently lift up salmon away from skin and place lengthwise on sauce. Garnish plate with orange slices, if using, and serve.

Black Bean Sauce

  • 1 can (15 oz.) no salt added black beans
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. grated ginger root
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind (save orange for garnish)
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In small bowl, mash beans with liquid and set aside.

In small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until garlic starts to turn golden, about 1 minute.

Add mashed beans and remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and cook, stirring often, until hot, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be slightly chunky and thick. Set aside, covered. If sauce thickens too much before plating, stir in water in 1 tablespoon increments and heat through.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 318 calories, 13 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 22 g carbohydrate, 31 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 250 mg sodium.

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