Miso glazed foods are drawing more and more popularity around the globe. Glazing with miso adds an interesting and tasty flavor to many dishes. This simple miso-glazed salmon is one of them. Learn how Japanese cook miso-glazed salmon. Turn your ordinary salmon dish into a sophisticated meal with this fab recipe, including many tips.
So just what is Miso?
Miso is a traditional Japanese fermented condiment. Soybeans, rice and barley fermented with Koji (steamed rice that has been inoculated with a fermentation culture, Aspergillus oryzae) mixed for about 6 months. I make my own Miso. If you would like to know more about making this fabulous condiment, read here. You can get miso from Japanese/Asian grocery stores.
How Miso is Used in Japanese Cooking?
Miso is such a versatile condiment. Miso paste is not only used for making miso soup, but also used for sauce, marinade, salad dressings, glaze and also even make sweets. There are endless possibilities for using this exquisite flavor to enrich many dishes. I actually published “The Secrets to Japanese Cooking: Use the Power of Fermented Ingredients to Create Authentic Flavors at Home” book if you want to have more Miso recipes. Also, check out 15 miso recipes on Chopstick Chronicles.
Which Type of Miso is Good for Miso Salmon?
Japanese often use Kyoto Speciality called “Saikyo Miso” to marinate fish. Saikyo miso is made in the Kyoto area and it is sweet miso. Saikyo miso may be available from Japanese grocery stores. If you can not access this special miso, we can combine white miso (which is sweeter than red miso) with sugar.
Buy salmon fillets if you can because it will make cooking miso-glazed salmon much easier. I use frozen individually packed salmon from the local Aldi. If you use frozen fillets thaw them in room temp or the fridge. Don’t forget to remove any scales if you are intending to eat the skin as well (step by step photo 1).
How to Marinate the Salmon
Even though marinating salmon in miso mixture contains sake, I recommend to sprinkle a little bit of salt over the salmon and leave it for about 30 minutes before marinating (Step by step photo 2). We need to marinate for at least 7-8 hours (step by step photos 6-8).
How to Cook Marinated Salmon?
After marinating for over 7-8 hours, remove the excess marinade mixture well with a kitchen paper towel. Then place the salmon on the grill or frying pan (step by step photos 9-11). Now to prevent the salmon from burning. Cook the side which will be faced up on the serving plate. Because the side cooked first looks the prettiest. So for grill/broil, cook skin side down first and for frying pan Skin side up to cook first.
Tips to Grill/Broil/Pan Fry without Burning the Miso Glazed Salmon
- The optimal temperature for grilling/broiling/frying is said to be between 392°F and 572°F(200-300°C). When the fish surface is slightly browned it will look pretty and will have an appetizing aroma.
- The best way to cook fish uniformly is to cook it over/under high heat but the fish needs to be a distance from the heat. This is because if you bring the salmon close to high heat, the surface will burn before the inside is cooked. Furthermore, if you cook fish for a long time over low heat, moisture will escape and the fish will become dry. This is the reason Japanese often use the Hibachi grill. Because Hibachi grill can achieve high heat but the fish is far away from the heat (step by step photo 12).
- In general, fish protein is softer than it’s meat. So when it is cooked, fish easily breaks apart if you turn it many times. Therefore it is better to turn the fish only once(step by step photo 13).
- Make sure, you remove excess marinade as much as you can. The salmon is marinated over 7-8 hours, and the sweet miso flavor has penetrated through. Removing the marinade will not result in a loss of sweet miso flavor.
- Use a special baking sheet for fish if you have access to those, or like I did, scrunch up aluminum foil and coat it with sesame oil. It will prevent the salmon from sticking to the grill or frying pan (Step by step photo 10).
I originally served this with soba noodles. The nutty flavor of the soba noodle and slightly blackened sweet miso salmon make a perfect pairing. Also, I suggest serving miso-glazed salmon on top of a bed of plain cooked rice with sesame seeds.
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Miso Glazed Salmon
- 2 Salmon fillets *1
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp miso white or awase *2
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp mirin *3
- 1 tbsp sake *4
- * sesame seeds and chopped green shallots to garnish
- Sprinkle salt over the salmon fillets evenly and cover with cling wrap to leave for 15 minutes.
- Wipe excess moisture off the salmon with kitchen paper towel.
- Mix the miso, sugar, mirin, and sake all together and pour them in a ziplock bag.
- Place two salmon fillets in the bag. Zip the bag and coat the salmon with miso marinade from outside of the bag with your hand.
- Leave the marinade for 7-8 hours overnight in refrigerator.
- Remove the excess miso marinade with kitchen paper towel carefully.
- Place the salmon on a baking sheet lined oven tray. *5
- Grill/Broil the salmon for about 6 minutes under 410°F(210°C) on the bottom row in the oven. *6 *7
- Turn the salmon over once and cook another 6 minutes in the oven.
- Turn it back and glaze with miso marinade with a brush and put the tray back to the oven for one minute.
- Serve the glazed salmon on top of the soba noodles or bed of rice. *8
- Garnish with roasted sesame seeds and finely chopped green shallots.
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