Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade using Vanilla Bean Paste

Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade using Vanilla Bean Paste

I have a new secret ingredient!  It’s what Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing to the United States in the late 1700s.  Vanilla!

I was recently provided with a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste to try.

Are you wondering exactly what is vanilla paste and how does it differ from extract?  Flavours Magazine (April 2009) describes it as “a concentrated vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds ,suspended in a gum paste, and may contain alcohol.  It gives foods the authentic appearance of vanilla seed.”

Reviewing the Nielson-Massey site ( I came across a number delicious recipes but the Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade recipe quickly caught my eye.  I knew I had to try it!

Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade

Vanilla Balsamic Marinade
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1-1/2 teaspoons dried organic parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons dried organic basil
½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

8 (4 to 6 ounce) 1-inch thick Salmon fillets
canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the marinade, combine the olive oil, shallot, parsley, basil, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and vanilla paste into a blender container and puree. Pour evenly into two containers and set one container aside.

For the salmon, preheat the grill. Brush each fillet with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the tops of the fillets with the marinade, discarding any remaining marinade. Place the fillets marinated side down on a grill rack over direct heat. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or until dark grill marks appear and the marinade begins to caramelize. Turn the fillets and grill for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Serve with the reserved marinade. Serves 8.

The salmon was delicious!  Certainly something I could serve to friends.  However, the best part was what I did with the remaining marinade. It set more than enough marinade to the side to serve with the salmon.  I put it in the fridge thinking I could use it as a salad dressing the following day.  Well I had a better idea, or should I say tastier?  I used it to marinade a ½ pound of raw shrimp for about 30 minutes, not much more since marinade can often cook seafood when left for too long.  I sautéed the shrimp in a medium fry pan for a few minutes and served them on top of salad greens.  The taste was incredible. The subtle taste of vanilla was there. I was so impressed.

Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste is available at many gourmet markets and online.

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