Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Miso-Marinated Salmon with Cucumber-Daikon Relish and Green Tea Soba

I am always interested in new salmon recipes.  I have my favorites that I make over and over, but it's nice to mix it up every once in awhile.  Salmon is one of my favorite fishes - it can be prepared in hundreds of ways and is fairly forgiving.  I think it's a good gateway fish for people who don't cook a lot of fish.  The fat content is high enough that it stays moist, and it's hardy enough that it doesn't fall apart easily.  This miso-marinade is one of the best I have tasted in a long time.  The marinade gave the fish so much flavor during the two hours it marinated in the refrigerator.  The salmon was sweet from the mirin, but not overpoweringly so, and had nice savory undertones from the miso paste.  I don't think I have ever described salmon as rich before, but that is the word that comes to mind to describe this salmon - rich.  The cucumber-daikon relish cuts the richness nicely.  Without the relish the salmon would still be a good piece of fish, but I think the relish makes it all come together in your mouth.  You definitely want to use a nice piece of wild salmon for this dish if you can get it.  Then again, I think you should always use wild salmon.  

The green tea soba was a nice accompaniment to the salmon.  It was light and fresh, but still had nice flavor.  With the richness of the salmon and the flavors of the relish, you really needed something simple to not compete with all of those tastes already on the plate.  I really liked the dipping sauce and might actually try it out with regular buckwheat soba next time for some additional nuttiness.
Recipes after the jump!

Miso-Marinated Salmon
Adapted from Bon Appetit
January 2003

1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup mirin
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp minced green onions
1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp oriental sesame oil
4 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets, with skin
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced

Stir together miso, mirin, rice vinegar, scallions, ginger, and sesame oil in glass baking dish.  Add salmon to marinade.  Turn to coat.  Cover salmon and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (we did the full 2 hours).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Remove salmon fillets from miso marinade.  Using rubber spatula, scrape off excess marinade, and add salmon fillets skin side down on a baking dish or foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake salmon until it is opaque in the center, about 15 minutes if you want your salmon cooked medium.

Transfer salmon to plates, skin side down.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.  Serve with Cucumber-Daikon Relish.

Cucumber-Daikon Relish
January 2003

2 English cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 tsp sea salt
8 oz. daikon , peeled, cut into 2-inch long, thin matchsticks
2/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Toss cucumbers with sea salt in colander. Place colander over bowl and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse cucumbers. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Place radish sticks in medium bowl. Cover with cold water. Soak for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Stir vinegar and next 3 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add cucumbers and radish; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  I would recommend allowing the ingredients to sit together in the fridge for at least an hour to mellow out the daikon further, unless you like the peppery taste of raw radish.

Green Tea Soba 

6 oz. dried green tea soba noodles
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp bonito flakes
1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce (aka shoyu)
1/3 cup mirin
1/2 tsp sugar 
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, julienned

Cook soba in boiling salted water for 6 minutes or until al dente.  Drain soba and rinse under cold water.  Drain well.  Transfer to a bowl and toss with sesame oil and seeds. 

For dipping sauce, combine bonito flakes, soy, mirin, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat, cool, then strain through a fine sieve.

Pile noodles equally on plates.  Serve accompanied by individual bowls of dipping sauce, green onion, and ginger.

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