Cook's Illustrated (December 2015)
Tis' the season of holiday parties, ubiquitous piles of cookies (don't worry -- we'll post some of those soon), and this stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that is among the most indulgent times of the year.
And believe us when we say we are indulging. We're freshly back from a trip to Palm Springs, to see two wonderful friends get married. The weekend was a blast, and completely delicious. We sampled as much as we could. The phenomenal cinnamon rolls at Cheeky's. The coffee (and cookies) at Koffi. And the best corned beef sandwich of our lives at Sherman's Deli. And we may have had a glass or two of wine along the way.
But now it's time to restore some balance and behave less like competitive eaters and more like people interested in being able to wear the same pants in 2016.
If, like us, you find yourself in need of some lighter fare this December, we recommend you try this Miso Glazed Salmon.
Salmon is one of our go-to staples for a quick weeknight meal. We keep frozen filets on hand, and frequently turn to them when we're having a dinner time crunch. This salmon recipe isn't the sort of thing you can pull off at the last minute -- it requires marinating the fish for between 6 and 24 hours -- but it is a dish that you can prepare a day in advance and cook quickly the next night.
We are miso fiends, and this marinade only intensifies our addiction, infusing the salmon with delicious umami flavor. Once marinated, the salmon is cooked under a broiler, allowing the top of the salmon to caramelize slightly, turning a beautiful brown. For what it's worth, we dramatically cut down the sugar called for here, using 1 tablespoon instead of 1/4 cup. We thought our glaze was nicely balanced, and we didn't at all wish for more sweetness.
The end result is a deeply flavorful (and beautiful) salmon that we found to be outstanding.
And not only is this a delicious fish, it's light and healthy and a nice counterbalance to all the heavy, rich foods that show up this time of year. Eat this salmon for dinner, and you'll feel totally justified in reaching for that third (or fourth) Christmas cookie for dessert.
1/2 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons mirin
4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
Note that the fish needs to marinate for at least 6 or up to 24 hours before cooking. Use center-cut salmon fillets of similar thickness. Yellow, red, or brown miso paste can be used instead of white.
1. Whisk miso, sugar, sake, and mirin together in medium bowl until sugar and miso are dissolved (mixture will be thick). Dip each fillet into miso mixture to evenly coat all flesh sides. Place fish skin side down in baking dish and pour any remaining miso mixture over fillets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Using your fingers, scrape miso mixture from fillets (do not rinse) and place fish skin side down on foil, leaving 1 inch between fillets.
3. Broil salmon until deeply browned and centers of fillets register 125 degrees, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cooking and shielding edges of fillets with foil if necessary. Transfer to platter and serve with lemon wedges.