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3 Ways To Marinate and Grill SalmonPosted by Mr WDC Mar 20, 2016
Photo: Salmon marinated in garlic and herbs.
Marinating and Grilling Fish
Grilled food is great to eat, it’s quick and easy and it gives an excellent char-grilled flavour to the food. It’s like campfire cooking or even upside-down barbecuing in the comfort of your own kitchen. There are some caveats: for those of us who do not have wall-mounted deluxe grills with commercial extractors, it can get a bit smoky, it can be difficult to see what is going on under the flames and it can be difficult to judge when something is cooked. Clearly these are significant caveats and perhaps the reason why I do not use the grill as much as I would like.
However, having decided to use it for these three marinades I am sold again with the idea of grilling. I would urge you to try one of these recipes, they are superior to almost all others in terms of imparting flavour and tenderness.
Marinades add flavour to food. Acid marinades can tenderise meat depending on the time they are left in the marinade, however, acids on fish will ‘cook’ or denature the fish, as in a ceviche. Adding salt to a marinade makes a brining solution – which will encourage the marinade to penetrate the flesh of meat. But over time salt – especially in higher concentrations – will will draw moisture from fish and cure it. Alcohol will also tenderise and flavour the flesh, but can also denatures the surface. For these fish marinades I have not used citrus or added salt. Alcohol has been used in small amounts.
1. Salmon Teriyaki
Salmon teriyaki is a favourite. The marinade gives the fish a wonderful flavour and protects the fish from drying out under the grill. Teriyaki sauce is popular in America, where it has widely been widely adopted in restaurants and fast food outlets or as a barbecue marinade. I can’t help thinking of Larry David (the ‘teriyaki chicken guy’) in Curb Your Enthusiasm walking into his favourite restaurant with the waiters behind the counter mockingly flapping outstretched chicken-wing arms while singing with a heavy accent: ‘teriyaki chicken – teriyaki chicken!’
The marinade for this is very simple, use 50ml soy to 1 tbs mirin to 1 tbs sugar. Mirin is a sweet sake. Mix the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved.
The best way to keep marinate the salmon is to put the marinade in a zip-lock plastic bag. Put in the fridge for an hour.
This is what it looks like when it has marinated for an hour.
Put tin foil over the grill rack and grill for about 10 minutes (depending on your grill) turning once. Baste with teriyaki marinade as you grill. The salmon will be cooked if the flesh is opaque when prodded with the tip of a knife or when 60C is registered on a temperature probe. You will need to watch that the salmon does not burn too much – so adjust the position, height and temperature so that it cooks evenly. The marinade includes sugar and soy which easily burn. Check the residues on the tin foil do not catch under the grill. Adjust the heat as you cook allowing the salmon some time at a higher heat to give browning, but also at a lower heat to ensure the salmon is cooked all the way through.
Here is my salmon. It may look overcooked or even burnt – but it is not – it was cooked perfectly. Teriyaki should have a bronzed glaze or lacquer finish (teri – referring to this effect – the yaki meaning to grill). As I mentioned above the sugar and soy will easily burn under a grill – but the odd caught bit is fine. (Think of it as the crispy browned and burnt skin on a piece of grilled chicken.)
The finish salmon plated with brown Japanese rice, green beans and sesame seeds. Serve with a teriyaki sauce made from the marinade which has been heated and strained.
2. Herb and garlic marinade
This is a simple a straight forward marinade for fish. There is no sugar in the marinade so it behaves itself under the grill and is not likely to burn as easily as the Japanese recipes here. It’s based on the flavours of Italian or Mediterranean herbs. For an easy grill recipe this is fairly foolproof.
Herbs are chives, oregano, rosemary, thyme – all fresh. One clove chopped garlic and good olive oil.
Marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour or an hour and more. The open flesh in fish allows marinade flavours to penetrate quicker than they do with meat.
Put tin foil over the grill rack and grill for about 10 minutes (depending on your grill) turning once. The salmon will be cooked if the flesh is opaque when prodded with the tip of a knife or when 60C is registered on a temperature probe. I’ve left quite a bit of the herbs on the underside of the fillet, but only a few on the top in case the herbs and garlic burnt.
Here is the finished fillet. Evenly browned and cooked.
To re-introduce the flavours of the marinade, gently cook the remaining marinade for a few minutes – add more olive oil if necessary.
Serve with a salad and sauté potatoes – drizzle over the strained marinade oil and finish with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
3. Miso marinated and grilled salmon
This was inspired by a visit to a Hyper-Japan event at Earl’s Court. The event was full of Japanese foods, products, clothes, popular culture and entertainment. Apart from sampling some good food the biggest treat was enjoying the visitors themselves – most of whom dressed spectacularly in their favourite manga character. Even those that could only manage a pink or purple wig helped to keep a smile on your face. We came away with goodie bags, chop sticks, a bonsai (still surviving) and an Eat Japan recipe for miso marinated salmon…
The miso marinade: 100ml white or other miso, 1 tbs mirin, 1 tbs sake, 1 tbs caster sugar.
Mix it up in a bowl and transfer to a plastic zip-lock bag with the salmon fillet. Marinate overnight or up to two days.
Here it is after marinating overnight.
Put tin foil over the grill rack and grill for about 10 minutes (depending on your grill) turning once. Baste with miso marinade as you grill. The salmon will be cooked if the flesh is opaque when prodded with the tip of a knife or when 60C is registered on a temperature probe. You will need to watch that the salmon does not burn too much – so adjust the position, height and temperature so that it cooks evenly. The marinade includes sugar and miso which easily burn. Check the residues on the tin foil do not catch under the grill. Adjust the heat as you cook allowing the salmon some time at a higher heat to give browning, but also at a lower heat to ensure the salmon is cooked all the way through. The fish should also have a ‘bronzed’ look to it – some charring is fine. The fish will still be tender and moist. (Think of it as the crispy browned and burnt skin on a piece of grilled chicken.)
Serve with edamame beans, mooli garnish and a side of rice. Serve with a soy and lemon sauce (soy with a little sugar and squeeze of lemon).
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