Now that the super sister has winged her way back home with a baby cooler of fresh fish, the torrential rains have started up again with flood warnings, 40+ mph wind gusts and a sprinkling of frogs. Now where did I put my tickets for that ark cruise? Right, so just in case we need to bail out our basement, tonight’s dinner will be short and sweetly savory. Even though Thanksgiving and December are just around the corner, we’re still flush with a surfeit of scrumptious fresh fish compliments of my fave fishmonger so what better way to highlight succulent, toothy salmon than broiling with a painless yet flavorful glaze? Salty, nutty shiro (white) miso, sweet Japanese rice wine (mirin) that unfishes even fishy fish, tangy rice wine vinegar, and a smidgen of sugar all come together to highlight salmon but this glaze would also go well with halibut too. Since the veggies also get broiled, get ready for dinner in 30 minutes flat!
Did you know…?
1) Why microwave the sweet potato and then broil it? Since it has a significantly longer cooking time than the salmon or asparagus, par-cooking it either by microwaving or boiling will make sure you don’t have crunchy potatoes with blackened, wilted asparagus and leathery salmon. Along the same lines, that’s why the potatoes should be cut into 1/2-inch thick half moons–less volume/smaller pieces = shorter cooking time.
2) What if I don’t have mirin? No worries, you can use 3 parts sake to 1 part sugar (eg 3 tbsp sake + 1 tbsp sugar = sort of mirin :)) or substitute 1:1 sweet sherry.
3) Seriously? First it’s the mirin and dashi stock and now you want ponzu shoyu sauce?? Sorry, it’s what I have in my pantry. ポン酢醤油 Ponzu soy sauce is fairly ubiquitous out here in Portlandia–they even sell it in the Asian section at the chain grocery stores here like Safeway and Fred Meyer. If you can’t find ponzu soy sauce, you can make an approximation using 1 part soy sauce, 1 part citrus juice (ideally ponzu is made with yuzu, a slightly bitter citrus fruit from Japan that has an orangey-grapefruity flavor, but you can substitute orange juice in this instance), 1 part dashi broth and 1/5 part unseasoned rice wine vinegar so for easy math: 5 tbsp soy sauce + 5 tbsp juice + 5 tbsp dashi + 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar = 1 c ponzu soy sauce. Yay!
4) I’m trying a new experiment so for those of you who are interested, I’ve added the nutritional info at the bottom of this post so let me know what you think 🙂
1 tbsp shiro miso
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1/2 c dashi stock
2-3 tsp vegetable oil
2 4-oz salmon fillets ~1-inch thick, skin-on and pin bones removed
8 oz asparagus
1 medium-sized sweet potato
1 tbsp ponzu soy sauce (Japanese citrus soy sauce)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp (1/2 clove) crushed garlic
In a small saucepan combine miso, mirin, sugar, rice wine vinegar, and dashi stock. Cook on high heat till reduced by 2/3 ~5-7 minutes. I like mine to have the consistency of a thin ketchup. Remove from heat and set aside.
While glaze is reducing, poke the sweet potato with a fork 4-5 times. Microwave on 2/3 power for 3 minutes. Place in a bowl of cold water to cool.
Prepare asparagus by holding onto the bottom third of the stem with one hand and holding onto the end with the other hand, bend till it breaks. The asparagus will naturally break off where the stiff, woody part of the stem meets with the younger, more pliable stem.
Cut sweet potato, with skin on, into 1/2-inch rounds and then cut into half moons so they’re bite-sized.
Oil a large roasting pan with vegetable oil and then place salmon skin side down in the center and surround with asparagus and sweet potato. Broil salmon on the second highest rack for 4 minutes. Turn over salmon and broil skin side up for another 4 minutes (don’t worry if skin blackens as you will be removing it later). Remove salmon skin by sliding a spatula between the skin and flesh like you’re using a letter opener. Turn salmon flesh side up (to the original roasting position) and generously brush with miso glaze. Remove veggies from roasting pan and tent with foil in a serving dish.
While the salmon and veggies are broiling, mix together ponzu, honey, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
Broil salmon for ~1-2 minutes till top is golden brown. Because of the high sugar content the glaze can burn easily so stay close. And yes, this would be the perfect time to take a generous glug of your cocktail du jour 🙂 Remove salmon from oven and apply another thin layer of glaze. Mix ponzu mixture with veggies. Makes 2 servings.