This brown sugar salmon is caramelized to a crispy exterior and served with a rosemary mustard sauce. An easy dinner in 20 minutes.

Last week on the flight out to California for the CrossFit Games, I sat next to a woman who boarded the plane in a straw hat with sunglasses on and stilettos. 

That alone probably tells you enough about the experience but in case you want some more color, she dug through her designer bag right before take off, grabbed a prescription pill bottle and popped 3 of whatever was in it.

It was kind of unfortunate because prior to that I was having a ton of fun reading her text messages to a girlfriend as she ripped apart some guy she had previously dated.

The font on her phone turned up to what I call the “mom font”. You know, the one so big that one letter takes up an entire row of text.

It’s barely considered being noisy when the text is practically jumping out and attacking you.

Brown sugar salmon
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So an hour and a half into the flight, she’s sleeping (with an eye mask on) and I’m watching some weird ass Nicole Kidman movie trying to figure out how she does an American accent so well when all of a sudden the seatbelt light goes on and we get the typical “folks, just hitting a little patch of rough air, please return to your seats…” speech from the pilot.

Not a big deal, typical turbulence, honestly nothing to even bat an eyelash at.

Unless you’re the pill popper beside me.

Brown sugar salmon

Next thing I know her hand is around my arm and I look over to see she’s talking to me.

I take the headphones off and she looks me straight in the eye and says “I’m scared. Are we going to die?”

My first thought was “I’m pretty sure I’m not, but why don’t you tell me what those 3 pills you took were before I make a judgment call on you.”

Except I had 3 more hours next to her so I didn’t say that.

I tried to reassure her the turbulence wasn’t that bad and we’d be fine but she proceeded to tell me she didn’t even have a good last meal if this was the end.

So I asked her what she ate last and she said: salmon.

Brown sugar salmon

I like salmon. In fact, I really like it. Especially when wrapped with bacon.

But, I can’t really say it’d be my first choice for a last meal (I honestly don’t think I could even pick one food to end on, there are just too many choices!) but I really wouldn’t be upset if it did in fact end up being my last meal.

Particularly if it was this brown sugar salmon recipe.

Caramelized on the stove top with brown sugar, finished in the oven and a lemon rosemary mustard sauce poured on top to serve – it’d be a pretty decent last meal.

So here’s to crazy people on airplanes…thanks for the inspiration (and the entertainment).


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5 from 1 vote

Brown Sugar Salmon with Rosemary Mustard Sauce

Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 17 minutes
A simple brown sugar caramelized salmon with a rosemary mustard sauce.


  • 1 lb. wild salmon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  • Combine brown sugar, salt & pepper in a shallow dish.
  • Coat salmon filet (or filets if you’ve cut it into 2 pieces) on all sides with the sugar mixture.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  • Once hot, add the filets skin side down to the pan.
  • Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the skin is browned and crunchy, flip and cook on all 3 remaining sides for about 3 minutes per side, until each is golden brown.
  • Transfer skillet to the oven and broil on high for another 3-5 minutes, until salmon is cooked through.
  • While salmon is in the oven, whisk together the remaining olive oil, mustard, rosemary and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  • Remove salmon from the oven, plate and drizzle the mustard sauce over top.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 613kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 63gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1590mgFiber: 2gSugar: 23g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American


Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    As a fellow writer, I must tell you…
    I normally hate these long lead-ins to the recipe (yes, I know why they’re necessary). But you made that fun. This is the first time I’ve ever bothered to read one.

    1. Haha, thank you. I had to go back to re-read this post and see what I said. I remember that lady well even 10 years later!

  2. Loved it, excellent recipe! I cooked it for 3 min. skin side up then flipped skin side down until it looked done (about 2-3 min.) and skipped the broiler. It was Excellent!

  3. You know, I wear sunglasses and high heels too. I live and eat Paleo, and have a serious investment into my body’s fitness. I love CrossFit and all things active. I say, why judge this poor lady on the plane so harshly? She’s just another human on the planet, like the rest of us. I like this recipe but I am going to try it with local honey rather than brown sugar. I will report back with my findings!