The blood oranges have been seducing me with their siren song. Sweeter than other orange varieties with a deep ruby hue so how could I resist when even Odysseus had to be tied to a mast to resist their allure? Okay, he was trying to resist actual sirens but still …. I’ve always found that if I want to experiment with something new I’m best served by pairing it with something else that’s fresh and in season and right now that would be luscious, succulent, toothy Chinook (aka King) salmon, never frozen and straight from British Columbia to my local fishmonger. Since citrus with fish makes me think of Asian flavors, I’ve added miso paste for the savory component, ginger and garlic for some zing, some mirin for smoothness, and a hint of honey and crushed red pepper for spice. All in all, a very bright assortment of flavors to complement a lovely buttery fillet that’s on your table in just 30 minutes. And just in case you think that crimson hue is just for show, those dark pigments contain anthocyanins which are antioxidant pigments. Sweet and it helps to curb those mischievous free radicals floating around that can wreak havoc on your cells, heart, and promote cancer? w00t!
1) In this instance, if you don’t have miso paste, you could substitute light soy sauce but I would only add 1 or 1 1/2 tbsp as soy sauce has 30% more sodium in it than miso paste. You’ll get a darker sauce, more brown than orangey, without the nuttiness of the fermented soy beans.
2) If you don’t have mirin you could substitute 3 parts sake to 1 part sugar (eg 3 tbsp sake + 1 tbsp sugar = 4 tbsp sort of mirin :)) or 1:1 sweet sherry.
2 tbsp white miso
1/2 c blood orange juice ~1 orange
1/2 tbsp blood orange zest
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp (2 cloves) crushed garlic
1 tbsp (2 inches) crushed ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp mirin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 4-oz salmon fillets, pin bones removed (I used Chinook)
In a small bowl combine miso, juice, zest, honey, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and mirin. Set aside.
Season salmon with salt and freshly ground pepper. Why yes, I am happy to see you and that is a fin on my fillet. While I love the quality of the seafood from my fishmonger, their filleting techniques are at times more based on enthusiasm than skill. Finding an extra appendage on my fish or pin bones sticking up at a 30 degree angle are fairly common occurrences. I’ve gotten over any fishy amputation squeamishness but removing those off-kilter pin bones from a wonky filleting technique is difficult to do without mangling your fillet 😦 Okay, whining done 😀
Heat olive oil in a large skillet till aromatic but not smoking. Sauté salmon skin side up till opaque halfway up the side ~4-5 minutes.
While salmon is sautéing reduce miso mixture in a small pan over med-hi heat till 1/3 of the original volume ~the consistency of a thin ketchup.
Flip salmon and sauté skin side down till completely opaque and a sharp knife slides easily into the flesh with no resistance for medium doneness, another ~4-5 minutes (for medium-rare you should feel some resistance at the midpoint). Serve with glaze, I like to use ~1-2 tbsp per fillet.