Browsing through The Perfect 10 Cookbook’s (a supplement of Woman This Month magazine) recipes from around the world, “Japanese” and “Miso” caught my attention and immediately I found myself craving that pleasant savoury flavour, called Umami… our 5th sense of taste. Japanese is such a feel good food, even hearing and saying the words tempura, sukiyaki, miso, sashimi, sushi… makes me hungry!
Buying Miso can be a little confusing as the paste varies in colour, texture, flavour, sweetness and saltiness! Miso is a naturally fermented paste and is a basic flavouring used in Japanese cooking; produced by cooking soybean, rice or barley, injecting with a mold, mixing with water and salt, miso is then aged in kegs… some up to three years! When I think about miso as a condiment it opens up many culinary possibilities when adding miso to sauces, soups, broths, dips, marinades and dressings, all of which can be used with vegetables, meat, chicken, duck and fish.
From as far back as I can remember I have always loved the taste of Salmon. This oily fish is so versatile and works with many flavours. I used a dark soybean miso (Hatcho) with the Salmon, but it is quite acceptable to use a lighter sweeter miso. As miso pastes vary, tasting miso straight from its packet is a good way of gauging its flavour and saltiness before using with recipes. Use a smooth miso paste for marinating. Miso confused… then hop over to The Just Hungry blog which has some great information on miso.
Once the fish has marinated for 24 hours, the rest is quick and easy. For a more substantial meal, serve this dish with steamed Japanese rice or udon noodles. With the healthy omega and the satisfying umami, this dish is sure to please.
Miso Marinated Fish with Green Salad
This recipe is adapted from the Perfect Ten Cookbook, a supplement of Woman this Month magazine, recipe by James Claire.
- 2 tablespoons of Japanese cooking sake
- 100ml mirin
- 100g of hatcho miso paste (or your own preference)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 salmon fillets (or other firm white fish) (each weighing 150g to 175g)
for the salad and dressing
- 1 head of lolla rossa lettuce, torn into bits sized pieces
- 3 medium cucumber, seeds scraped out, thinly sliced
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoons sesame oil
- sea salt, to taste
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
How to make: For the marinade, pour the sake and mirin into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 seconds. Remove for the heat and gradually whisk in the miso paste until you have a smooth mixture. Mix in the honey. Leave the marinade to cool. Slather the miso marinade all over the fish fillets. Cover the fish and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
Heat a ridged grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush the ridges of the grill pan with vegetable oil before placing the fish on to cook, otherwise the fish will stick. Place the fish top side down and leave the fish undisturbed for about 3 minutes or until you make the grill marks. Turn the fish over, reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 5 minutes or until you have cooked to the desired doneness.
In a small dish whisk the white wine vinegar, mirin and sesame oil together, season with salt. Toss the dressing with the salad and scatter over the sesame seeds just before serving. Serves 4.
Note: The fish is best marinated for 24 hours but you could marinate the fish overnight if you were short on time. You can use a normal fry-pan instead of the ridged grill pan or cook the fish under a grill if preferred.