The Secret Ingredient for Restaurant-Quality Salmon

Salmon is popular for healthful weeknight dishes. It's widely available at grocery shops, cheaper than other seafood, rich and flaky, and full of omega-3s.   

Salmon tastes wonderful grilled, pan seared, air-fried, or baked in olive oil with salt and pepper.   

A secret ingredient, miso, makes salmon taste better. Japanese fermented soybean paste is salty, earthy, and umami-rich.    

This ingredient adds a sophistication to salmon and makes it taste like restaurant food. Learn how to make this dinnertime magic at home.   

Let's explore miso before getting into the details. Koji and soybeans ferment to make miso. Miso's history is murky, like most cuisine histories. Some sources say China, others Japan.   

It's apparent that miso has long been a staple in Japanese cuisine. Marukome, a Japanese miso maker since the 1850s, believes miso arrived in Japan around 700 BC.      

The first U.S. supermarkets to sell miso were health food stores like Whole Foods, but other supermarket chains have followed in recent decades. Look in your market's refrigerated section.    

White (shiro miso) and crimson (aka miso) miso are usually found in grocery stores. White miso has a milder flavor than red miso because it ferments less. White miso is usually used in salmon recipes, although either will work.   

Once you understand miso, start cooking. There are various ways to create miso-glazed salmon, so start with a recipe you like and adapt it.   

If you can’t find the cosmic brownie sprinkles, use rainboSimply mix ¼ cup red or white miso, ⅓ cup sake, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, and ¼ cup sugar, rub on fish, and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. A savory-sweet caramelized glaze and moist, delicate, flaky fish will result from 5 minutes in the toaster oven or broiler.  w sprinkles instead.  

No sake? Kenji suggests a dry white wine. Salmon can be replaced with cod, tilapia, or catfish if you're on a budget. Feeling fancy? Try miso-marinated black fish, a tribute to Nobu's famous dish.    

Food writer, recipe developer, and Simply Recipes Senior Editor Myo Quinn shows a similar recipe on TikTok. She blends sake, sugar, and soy sauce with miso. She usually marinates the fish for 6 hours, but in the video she was in a hurry and didn't have time.    

Broiling the salmon for 6 minutes made the top golden and bubbling and the inside soft and flaky. Quinn said it tasted as good as it looked, so we can take shortcuts when needed.    

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