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Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:31 am

Miso - marinated salmon


Miso-marinated fish is a signature dish of Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, whose exquisite cuisine has won him accolades for years and built a 23-restaurant empire that spans the globe – from NYC to Tokyo, Australia, Dubai, Moscow and London. My husband and I first experienced it during a tasting lunch at Nobu NYC years ago (Sean Connery was at the sushi bar); it was love at first bite. Nobu most often miso-marinates black cod, something that’s not readily available here. But it’s just as good with salmon. Somehow the marinade manages to infuse the fish without obscuring its own flavor or altering its texture, even when marinated overnight. This is one of my favorite – perhaps even my most favorite – salmon preparation.

  • Salmon filet, either 6-8 oz. individual pieces (up to six) or a 2–3 lb. single piece
  • 1 T diced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 c. white (shoyo) miso
  • 1 c. mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 c. sake or dry white vermouth
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar (a.k.a. sushi vinegar)
  • 2 T. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce, preferably Kikkoman
  • 1 – 2 T. unsalted butter
Place salmon in a resealable plastic bag. Combine all ingredients except the butter in the container of an electric blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the fish, squeeze out the excess air, seal the bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove salmon from the marinade. Let excess drip off, but do not wipe off. Heat the butter over moderately high heat in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the salmon in one layer. When the butter is hot but before it begins to brown, add the salmon, skin side up, and sear only until browned and caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and roast in the oven an additional 3 to 4 minutes. The salmon can be slightly rare or just cooked through, according to your preference. It can be served with the skin on, which will have gotten crispy and is delicious, or skinless by carefully sliding a spatula between the flesh and skin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This marinade is excellent with other types of firm fish, such as cod or halibut, or trout fillets. Adjust roasting times to the thickness of the fish.
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