Asian recipes with salmon are often hit or miss, because salmon could be so fickle: you don’t want to overcook it and end up with a dry salmon that does not taste good. I am also a big fan of savory flavors, so I was looking for an Asian fish recipe that would not be overly sweet. This recipe uses a little bit of honey but only for glazing purposes, to caramelize salmon on top, – you can’t really taste the sweetness, which is what I wanted.
This is an easy recipe and it presents nicely on the plate, especially if you use both black and white wild rice, and if a single portion is small and centered in the middle of a large white plate.
The original recipe calls for marinating salmon in sake, soy sauce and other ingredients for about 30 minutes, and that’s how I cooked salmon the first time I tried this recipe, however, I found that keeping the fish in this marinade did not add much flavor-wise, and it certainly did not add anything to the fish presentation-wise – the salmon looked kind of limp and soft after being marinated. The second time I made this dish, I used a light honey-based glaze instead to give salmon more color. I brushed the glaze over salmon as I cooked it on the skillet and then brushed some more during broiling – I liked the fish much better this way, and that’s the recipe here.
I also used wild rice instead of basmati, just because I wanted to add some color to rice as well, so I used white and black wild rice. Cooking wild rice is quite different from cooking regular rice, because you have to use more water (4 parts of water to 1 part of rice – for example, if you cook 1 cup of wild rice you need 4 cups of water). You also have to cook the rice longer – about 30 minutes, and towards the end it’s key not to overcook wild rice because it could get mushy. If using regular rice, such as basmati, you generally use less water and it takes less time to cook.
I omitted cardamom pods for rice. When making sauce, I used more sake and used sesame oil instead of chili oil. I also used just a regular white wine vinegar instead of a brown rice vinegar.
Salmon fillet with Sake sauce and wild rice
Loosely adapted from Nigella Lawson.
Prep time: 60 min
Ingredients for glaze:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup wild white rice
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup wild black rice
- 2 cups water
- salt to taste
Sauce for salmon and rice:
- 1/3 cup sake
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dry English mustard or wasabi paste
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh spinach, to garnish
1) Cook wild rice for 30 minutes(1 cup of rice in 4 cups of water = 1 to 4 proportion), until it’s soft but not mushy. You can cook white and black wild rice together or separately. You can also use different type of rice, such as basmati, and cook for less amount of time, usually about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, season rice with salt.
2) To make sauce, boil sake in a small pan, uncovered, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add other sauce ingredients.
3) Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients listed for glaze, except salmon and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, mix well. Heat the mixture in the microwave for about 20 seconds or longer to soften honey. Brush mixture over the skinless side of salmon
4) Heat stainless steel skillet until hot, add remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil, cook salmon for 3 minutes on one (skinless) side on high heat, 2 minutes on the other side (with skin). I usually cook salmon with skin on, and remove skin easily after salmon is cooked. Brush the top (skinless) side of salmon with more glaze and place salmon under broiler for about 4 minutes.
5) Slice salmon into thin slices. Mix black and white rice, place on 2 or 3 plates, lay sliced salmon on top of rice, pour sauce over the salmon and some rice. Garnish with chopped spinach on top.
More salmon recipes: