Friday, April 22, 2005


This recipe had great potential, but it didn't quite deliver. It tasted good enough, though, and I think that once I perfect the execution, it could be great. I foolishly only marinated the salmon for an hour; the recipe asks for 1-6 hours, and although I prefer a longer marination, I didn't see any way I could marinate for 6 hours, considering I get home from work at 6:30 and don't care to eat dinner after midnight. I know, I know--why not do longer than 6 hours? Generally when I marinate things, I make the marinade the night before and let it marinate for 24 hours. But I do like to follow recipes to the letter the first time around, I'd never marinated fish before, and I worried that perhaps the fish would become goo or turn into a pumpkin or something if I marinated it longer. But sure enough, after an hour, I grilled the salmon and could taste only a hint of the marinade. What I did detect was promising, though. I'd only grilled one of my two fillets; A was at an audition and didn't get home until 10:00, so I left his salmon in the marinade until he was ready to eat. According to him, the 3 hours of marination yielded a decent amount of flavor (I wasn't able to verify this myself, having already brushed my teeth). So, next time I'm going to marinate the hell out of that fish and see what happens. I also wasn't able to find any mirin (rice wine) this time around, so I had to use the substitution ingredients of sugar and lemon. I'd be interested to see if the mirin adds more flavor.

Even with all these difficulties, the salmon still had a nice crunchy, sesame-y exterior (I do love sesame seeds) and a good (if faint) sweet-sour glaze. This is a different style than my other salmon recipes, as well as being a breeze to make, so I hope I can refine it to add a little more oomph.

NOTE: I did make this again a few weeks later. I marinated the fish for 24 hours and used a better-quality soy sauce (still no mirin, though), and it was great.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (rice wine), or 1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 salmon steaks (I used fillets, actually), about 8 ounces each
1/2 cup sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large Ziplock bag, combine the soy sauce with the mirin, or the sugar and lemon juice. Add the salmon, coating it well with the marinade, and seal the bag. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for 1-6 (or, in my experience, up to 24) hours.

2. When ready to cook, preheat your grill (I used a George Foreman; you can also, of course, use a normal grill, or your oven broiler with the rack in the top position). Remove the salmon from the bag and discard the marinade. Season the salmon with salt and pepper to taste, spread the sesame seeds on a plate, and coat both sides of the salmon with them, patting them down to help them adhere.

3. Grill the salmon until it's cooked through. (If you're using a regular grill, brush it with oil and then add the salmon; if you're using the broiler, set the salmon on a rack set in a baking pan. Either way, cook for about 6 minutes on each side.)

4. The recipe notes that this marinade works well with any fish steaks, including swordfish, halibut, and tuna.

Serves: 4
Time: 15 minutes, plus 1-24 hours marination

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