Miso Marinated Salmon

The miso marinated black cod dish at Nobu is no longer a secret. You can order it at most local Japanese restaurants, and can easily make it at home. It’s silky, intense, and melt in your mouth delicious, not something I say often about fish. But although black cod (also known as sablefish) is not on the endangered list, it is fairly expensive (close to $20/pound) and can be hard to find. This week, I decided to try the marinade on a pretty piece of wild salmon this week to see if it would be as magical.
beautiful salmon steakWhenever I walk in to Whole Foods to buy some protein for the week, I stroll by the fish counter to see what tempts me. It’s as close as I can get to the memory of walking through an outdoor Paris market with my mom and haggling with the fish monger. The smells are less overpowering and there is no negotiation, but it’s still possible to fall in love with a gorgeous wild-caught piece of fish and bring it home triumphantly. I don’t buy farmed salmon, it just makes me nervous and tastes bland. How about you?

Miso SalmonThe miso marinated salmon was really easy to execute, and the marinade completely transformed a boring salmon dinner. The dish wasn’t cloyingly sweet and overpowering like a piece of salmon smothered in teriyaki sauce can be. It had a nice crust with a sweet and savory miso taste.

My husband likes it saucy! We doused this piece in a little extra marinade (one not in contact wtiht the raw fish)

We served it with broccolini and the bracing freshness of the vegetable was a great complement to the strong umami of the miso. I am somewhat obsessed with umami, the fifth taste that can most simply be described as intense savoriness. It’s that deeply satisfying flavor that fills your mouth in a rich mushroom sauce.  I wish I’d had some mushrooms to saute with some shallots and butter to punch up the umami notes of this dish even further.

Miso Marinated Salmon
Cook time
Total time
This lovely marinade creates an addictive flavor and is easy to throw together.
Serves: Serves 2
  • 1 Gorgeous Salmon Filet, ½ pound to 1 pound, sliced into individual pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons mirin
  • 3 Tablespoons sake
  • ½ Cup yellow or white miso paste
  • ⅓ Cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the Mirin, Sake, Miso, Brown sugar, and Maple Syrup. Blend and then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to disolve the miso paste. Add a little water if the miso paste remains very chunky after five minutes.
  2. Cool the mixture.
  3. Pour the cooled marinade over the salmon, making sure every inch is covered, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Cook the salmon in an oven-safe dish for 10 minutes. We like our salmon with a little redness inside, medium-rare if you can call a fish that. If you like your salmon pale pink and flaky throughout, cook it for 12 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately. Alternatively, this would be great cold on a salad.



6 Responses to Miso Marinated Salmon

  1. Hi Vanessa.

    If you can bear the thought, try the frozen, wild-caught salmon from Trader Joe. It’s delicious, uber fresh, and very reasonably priced. Thaws out fast and, in the end, is probably fresher than the fresh at WF.

    I avoid farm fish, too. Tastes like muck and can’t be good for a person.

    Love your blog and ideas in new book. My kids grew up a lot like that, in part because I was single and had no money for catering to peculiarities but also because of my fascination with cooking, cultures, nutrition, and an imaginary French upbringing.


    • Bonnie,
      I’ll have to try it! Great idea to have some high quality salmon in the freezer for those days when browsing the seafood case doesn’t yield anything appetizing. Plus I’m sure it’s a lot cheaper!

  2. Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd. have been providing customers with the finest quality ducks for over 20 years. All natural ducks, bred specifically for the finest flavor, weight and skin available today.

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