Saturday, July 16, 2011

Miso Salmon With Cilantro-Ginger Sauce

I'm walking out of work one day last week, around six o'clock, and in the parking lot is a coworker, standing at the back of his pickup.  He asks me if I'd like some fresh-caught salmon... as if anybody would say no.  Even if you didn't like salmon, you would take fresh salmon, when offered, and then gift it to a friend, who will then think you are probably the most amazing friend they've ever had.  So of course I wanted some of his salmon!  And so on a piece of cardboard on his tailgate, he proceeded to fillet a three foot salmon that he just caught five miles off the coast, and I came home with a giant slab of salmon tail!

We eat a lot of fish, but for some reason, not a lot of salmon.  Justin had a few ideas for cooking it, but I was looking for something just a little different.  I'm not going to lie - I didn't make this recipe up off the top of my head.  I've never even cooked with miso before this (but I will be cooking with it again soon!)  I found a recipe by an infamously evil woman, and though it nearly shamed me to use it... well, it just sounded damn good, and who am I to let morals and ethics stand in the way of delicious grub?  I changed the recipe up a little, so it's not an exact duplicate.  I can't say if my way is better or not, because I've never tried the recipe in its original form.  But mine was delicious... so why even bother with the Mistress of All That Is Dark and Crafty's version?  The cilantro-ginger sauce alone was so delicious that we've already begun to come up with other uses!

For some reason, when I was trying to think of some good nautical themed music for this dish, the first song that popped into my head seemed perfect!  Jawbreaker's, "The Boat Dreams From The Hill".  Fell in love with this song the first time I heard it, but the lyrics also depress the hell out of me, even if they sing "fishy flutter on its rudder".  Maybe the song is apropos.  It's upbeat, but also depressing.  And this dish is delicious, albeit stolen from a villain!  And so I give you salmon and Jawbreaker.  -jen

  • 1 cup white miso
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed, plus one 1 teaspoon
  • 4-6 large salmon fillets
  • 1.5 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves)
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 2" in length), peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
In a medium saucepan combine miso, vinegar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until miso and sugar have dissolved; cool to room temperature. Marinate salmon in the miso sauce, refrigerated for at least 2 hours.  

 In a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, shallot, chili, garlic, ginger, oil, and remaining teaspoon of brown sugar. Blend until mixture is smooth.

Heat broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place salmon skin-side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and broil until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Salmon will flake from skin easily.  Serve with cilantro-ginger sauce.

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