Roasted Honey and Spice Sockeye Salmon by Chef David Buchanan.

Most people from the Northwest love their wild salmon and also have their favorite species. Some swear by King (Chinook) salmon because they love the high oil content, large flakes, and soft texture. Another popular choice is Sockeye salmon because of its robust (wilder) flavor and firmer texture. And others prefer Coho for its overall milder flavor.

Regardless of your salmon preference, the Honey & Spice Salmon will bring a new flair to your favorite fish. The components I’m using are savory spices (not hot or spicy). The focus is on the aromatic and full flavored seasonings. And then a final touch of honey & butter because they bring a luxurious finish to the dish. 

Honey has become a “boutique ingredient” with a wide range of flavors that include wildflower, orange blossom, fireweed and blackberry to name a few. I’m also a big fan of using locally produced kinds of honey with flavors that I find intriguing.

The recipe calls for roasting the salmon in the oven, but it could also be pan-seared and finished in the oven, or marked on the grill and finished in the oven. Avoid cooking the salmon completely on the grill because the spice rub would likely burn, which would turn the spices bitter.

Serve the salmon with any of your favorite side dishes. In the photo, I used black barley, petite French beans, delicata squash and candied pecans as my accompaniments.

Serves 8

Spice Rub Ingredients:

5 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 ¼ teaspoons coriander, ground

1 ¾ teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed

1 ¼ teaspoons, anise seed

2 ½ teaspoons orange peel

2 ½ teaspoons mustard seed

2 teaspoons Tellicherry black pepper, crushed


Place all of the spices in a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

For the salmon:

8 each 7-ounce Sockeye salmon fillets

Season with Kosher salt based on preference

4 tablespoons spice rub (see above)

4 tablespoons local honey

2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

• Lightly season the salmon with kosher salt. 

• Sprinkle 1 ½ teaspoons of spice rub to the top of each fillet and lightly press the rub into the flesh. 

• Take a large roasting pan and lightly spray it with a vegetable spray. Add the salmon to the roasting pan. 

• Bake at 375 degrees F until the salmon reaches the desired doneness, which is about 15 minutes for medium-rare and about 25 minutes for medium-well.

• While the salmon is cooking, combine the butter and honey in a small pan on until the butter is melted. Stir to incorporate the butter and honey. Remove from heat and hold warm. 

• Once the salmon is cooked to perfection, remove from oven. 

• Arrange salmon on the serving plates with your choice of side dishes. 

• Top each fillet with about 2 ½ teaspoons of the honey and butter mixture and serve.


About Chef Buchanan

Chef David Buchanan has been at the helm of Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill & Bar since the restaurant’s inception in 2008. He is also the owner/chef contributor/researcher for website, and he is a Pacific Northwest culinary expert in his field.

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