I recently demonstrated this recipe at the Farmer’s Market in Windsor, CA, near my home in Sonoma County. We used salmon that was line-caught locally in Bodega Bay. Before you purchase any seafood, I recommend consulting first with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch chart, which can be found online, or you can download a free pocket guide or an app for your phone.
This Japanese Style of roasting works equally well on fresh halibut or sea bass. I serve the resulting fish hot or at room temperature, either as the center of the plate or as part of a salad. If you are doing this fish on the barbeque, a technique that I find helpful is to place the fish skin side down on a sheet of heavy aluminum foil and cook it indirectly and covered over a medium heat. The foil prevents the fish from sticking or burning (because of the sugar in the marinade).
If you are broiling, do the same thing and be careful not to get the fish too close to the broiler element so that it can cook without burning. I’d allow at least 4 inches between the fish and the heat source. You can serve the salmon as is, or with a noodle salad. I’ve included the recipe if you decide to do the latter. Enjoy!
Japanese Style Roasted Salmon
4 five ounce fillets of wild salmon with skin on
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
Zest and juice of one small lemon
Soba Noodle Salad (recipe follows)
Season salmon with salt and set aside.
Combine marinade ingredients stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour marinade over fish and marinate refrigerated for 2 – 4 hours. Turn fish occasionally.
To serve: Roast salmon in a preheated 450 degree oven or alternately broil or grill salmon until just done, about 4 – 5 minutes depending on thickness. Be careful not to overcook. Salmon should still be translucent in the center. Serve with Soba Noodle Salad, if desired.
Soba Noodle Salad
Makes 3/4 cup or so
1/4 cup Dashi or defatted chicken stock
2-1/2 tablespoons white (Shiro) Miso
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce, preferably low sodium
1/3 cup or so canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped sweet pickled ginger
Add the stock, miso, vinegar and sesame oil to a mini processor or blender and with motor running slowly add oil to form a creamy dressing. Add ginger and pulse a couple of times to very finely chop and incorporate. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Pulse in a blender if sauce separates to bring it back together before serving.
4 ounces dried soba noodles
2 cups peeled, seeded cucumbers, sliced on an angle
1 cup green onions, whites and green tops sliced on the bias
1 cup daikon radish or sunflower sprouts, gently packed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Japanese seven-spice powder (Togorashi), to taste (optional)
Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Separate the noodles and drop them into the boiling water, stirring once or twice. When the water begins to boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this procedure twice cooking until the noodles are just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until completely cooled, tossing gently to remove surface starch and drain well.
Toss the noodles with the dressing, cucumbers and onions. Top with the sprouts, sesame seeds, and a pinch of seven-spice powder.
Recommended Wines: Soft reds like pinot noir or merlot are nice with this salmon as long as you don’t allow it to become too sweet. A drier style Gewürztraminer or Riesling, especially those from Alsace, are also delicious with this dish.
John Ash (c) 1994