Grilled Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Asparagus—the ultimate quick and healthy anytime meal. This whole meal requires only 5 ingredients, and that’s even counting olive oil and bread on the side! The key to this salmon recipe—use good ingredients and let them speak for themselves.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works
Here’s what’s on the menu:
- Perfectly grilled and glazed salmon fillets
- Charred asparagus
- Crusty whole-grain bread + good olive oil for dipping
I was intentional to streamline the cooking process of this recipe so you could get this on the table in minutes. The most important thing is to make sure you have balsamic glaze on hand, or to make it beforehand.
I prefer to use skinless fillets when grilling salmon. Contrary to what you may think, I find that if brushed with olive oil and cooked over medium-high heat, skinless salmon fillets stick less to the grill than skin-on.
BUT, because there’s always a but in cooking, you can absolutely use skin-on salmon fillets! Grilling salmon with skin will work just as well and will do a great job of keeping the salmon moist. If you do use skin-on fillets, make sure to follow the recipe directions and start the salmon top-side down on the grill first, then finish cooking with the skin side down.
For this recipe, we recommend using extra virgin olive oil. It will be used to coat the salmon and for dipping the crispy whole-grain bread. Therefore, it is best to use a high quality olive oil.
Sweet and tangy, this recipe uses balsamic glaze for asparagus and salmon fillets. We recommend using a glaze such as Filippo Berio or making your own with a recipe like this one from Add A Pinch. Simply use balsamic vinegar and some kind of sweetener like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar, or regular cane sugar. If you prefer to buy locally, you can usually find balsamic glaze in the condiment aisle.
Enjoy balsamic glaze on a variety of dishes at home, from “Caprese” style recipes (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil) to pizza or flatbreads—even use it to top vanilla ice cream!
Eating asparagus as part of a fiber-rich diet is an excellent way to help meet your fiber needs and keep your digestive system healthy. Fresh asparagus should have a rich green color with white ends. Avoid any asparagus that looks wilted or dull or has mushy tips—a sure sign it’s gone bad.
Test Kitchen Tips
- A quick trick for cutting down on dishes—coat the salmon with olive oil on a large plate. Then once you drop the salmon on the grill, roll the asparagus around with the remaining oil on the already-oily plate. Give them a good season with salt and pepper then drop them down on the grill next to the salmon.
- You can certainly warm the bread or give it a slight toast on the grill as well, though not necessary. If you do, just make sure to keep an eye on it—it toasts fast! If you have a rack set above the grill grate, you can also lay a few bread slices up there to warm and lightly toast.
What to Serve with Balsamic Glazed Salmon
- Switch out the asparagus for deeply browned and perfectly tender Garlicky Brussels Sprouts to create a delicious fall or winter dinner.
- Serve with Mashed Celery Root Potatoes, made with equal parts celery root and potatoes, for a savory flavor explosion. The ultimate comfort meal!
- If you are a texture lover, then adding in Crispy Fingerling Potatoes will hit all of the boxes for you: flaky salmon paired with crispy exterior and creamy interior of these potatoes. Yum!
- Add a side of Shaved Fennel Salad for a terrific combination that wonderfully compliments each dish.
What to Look for When Buying Salmon
- Avoid salmon fillets that have breaks or cracks in the muscle, both within the muscle itself and along the white collagen sheaths. This indicates mishandling and degradation.
- Avoid any packages that have pooling of water, another sure sign of degradation.
- Look for fillets that are bright and saturated in color.
- Salmon fillets should have a bright contrast between the muscle and the fat.
- Choose fillets that are glossy and firm to the touch.
- Avoid fillets that are chalky, dry, sticky and soft to the touch.
- Salmon fillets should smell fresh and clean, and slightly briny or like the ocean. Fresh fish should never smell “fishy.”
- Easily swap out the asparagus for other vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini or carrots. Balsamic glazed brussels sprouts is one of the our favorites!
- Prefer other cooking methods? One of our favorite cooking methods at ZK for cooking salmon is to broil it. In order to broil the salmon, it is important to get a thick center-cut piece of fish to not overcook the fish. Try our most popular and easiest cooking method—pan searing the salmon! Check out the Notes section of the recipe card to find out how to make this balsamic glazed salmon in the oven, too!
- The salmon can be substituted for another protein, such as steak or grilled chicken. Adding grilled shrimp is also a delicious option.
- Top the asparagus with shaved Parmesan cheese for a tasty, savory addition.
You can also make your own balsamic glaze using balsamic vinegar and some kind of sweetener like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar, or regular cane sugar. Check out this recipe from Add a Pinch.
You most certainly can! Simply place the generously glazed salmon and asparagus in a foil packaging on the grill.
Balsamic glaze should be kept sealed out of the light and away from heat in a cabinet or pantry. The balsamic glaze should last 12-18 months. The taste will become more subtle over time.
Fish should be cooked until opaque and flaky. As per the FDA guidelines, all finfish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F / 63° C. However, we at Zestful Kitchen prefer our salmon med-rare so we often will pull the salmon from the heat at around 125° F / 52° C.
Balsamic glaze is a reduction of balsamic vinegar, hence the alternative name “balsamic reduction.” Essentially, balsamic vinegar is simmered in a sauce pan for about 15 minutes until it’s reduced in half and has the consistency of maple syrup.
Balsamic Glazed Salmon
- 4 wild-caught salmon fillets, 1-inch-thick (about 6 ounces each)*
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Vegetable oil for brushing grill grate
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons balsamic glaze, such as Filippo Berio
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
- Crusty whole-grain seeded bread for serving
- Heat grill for direct cooking over high, 450ºF–550°F (232ºC–288ºC). Brush grill grate clean and close lid to heat.
- Generously coat all sides of salmon fillets with 1 ½ tablespoons oil and season tops generously with salt and pepper. Toss asparagus with remaining ½ tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Brush grill grate with oil.
- Place salmon, top side down, and asparagus on grill grate, close lid, keeping temperature around 500ºF (260ºC). Cook salmon until ⅔ of the fillets are lighter in color, they’re becoming firm to touch, and they easily release from the grate, 4–6 minutes. Cook asparagus until charred and fork-tender, 6 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Transfer asparagus to a platter. Flip fillets and generously brush tops of fillets with glaze, close lid and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted in the centers registers 130ºF (54ºC) for medium-rare, 2 minutes. (Cook to 145ºF for medium to well done) Transfer fillets to platter with asparagus.
- Serve salmon with additional balsamic glaze and some crusty bread with good olive oil for dipping.
How to Cook Balsamic Glazed Salmon in the Oven:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place salmon on prepared baking sheet. Brush fillets generously with the balsamic glaze and bake for 5 minutes. Brush fillets again with the glaze, then bake 5–10 more minutes until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and is cooked through.
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