P Fish can seem challenging to make at home but, pavé de saumon caramélisé (salmon teriyaki) is an ultra-easy recipe. All you need to do is ask your fishmonger to prep the salmon in advance for you. I made a teriyaki-inspired glaze to go with the salmon and served it with rice.
If you've been following my culinary adventures since the beginning of Pham Fatale, you may recall that I posted one of Lulu's favorite tofu recipes, called "sesame tofu caramelized with agave nectar and wasabi". This vegetarian recipe was inspired by this salmon dish. I hadn't made it in a long. tine, but my mother-in-law brought home some beautiful salmon fillets, so I told her I'd be in charge and surprise her. She loved it even though she said I should have tripled the amount of wasabi paste (she loves spicy food). You're welcome to follow her advice if you prefer it really spicy, but I'm a wimp, so I'll stick to just a half teaspoon...
Yields: 4 servings4 salmon fillets (about 5 ounces per fillet)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ cup honey
1-½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste (see tips)
½ teaspoon wasabi paste
1 to 1-½ tablespoons water
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
⅔ cup ponzu soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 sprigs cilantro (or green onions), for garnish
Prepping the salmon: Ask your fishmonger to prep the salmon fillets and remove the pin bones. Pat dry using paper towels. Season with salt and cayenne powder. Plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
For the teriyaki sauce: In a bowl, combine the honey, ginger garlic paste, wasabi paste, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, lime juice, ponzu and paprika in a bowl. Warm it in the microwave (or over low heat on the stove); the sugar should be dissolved.
Grilling salmon: Brush a hot non-stick griddle pan with a generous layer of oil. Pat the salmon dry one more time. Using a brush, lightly coat the salmon fillets as well. Add the garlic and cook until slightly golden. Once the oil is hot, place the salmon fillets, skin side down. Pan-sear for a minute and flip the salmon skin side up for an additional minute. You want nice grill marks.
Baking salmon: Quickly transfer the salmon fillets to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the teriyaki sauce over the fillets. Immediately place the salmon fillets in the oven and bake for 8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets). Baste the fish with more teriyaki sauce; the salmon should be coated with sauce. Remove from the oven. Lightly cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the fish to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
To check for doneness, a digital thermometer should register 120°F in the thickest part of the salmon fillet.
Top with toasted sesame seeds, drizzle a little sesame oil (if used) and garnish with sprigs of cilantro.
Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice and sautéed tender pea shoot tendrils (an Asian baby spinach-like green) in garlic or choy sum. During the summer, you could also serve them as salmon burgers.
Wasabi is a green colored horseradish paste. You could also use wasabi powder. You can buy either of these in any Korean store. I bought mine at the Marina -10122 Bandley Drive -Cupertino, CA 95014.
I used our family friend Mrs. Winsor's honey. It's very floral, not overly sweet and absolutely delicious. If you don't have honey, you could also make maple glazed salmon with maple syrup or use agave nectar.
I used ponzu soy sauce; it's perfect for the teriyaki sauce. It's lemony, tangy, sweet and less salty than regular soy sauce.
I've seen fresh pineapple juice used in place of the water for making teriyaki sauce in Japanese restaurants. I didn't have any but if you use pineapple, you might want to adjust the level of sweetness by decreasing the amount of brown sugar.
You've probably noticed I use ginger garlic paste a lot in my cooking. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife or the edge of a spoon, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender and, add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.
I baked the fillets for 8 minutes. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillet. I usually count about 10-12 minutes per inch of salmon. But the safest way to check for doneness is a digital thermometer; the fish will be cooked to perfection once the temperature reaches 120°F.
Depending on the season, you can also grill the salmon fillets on a barbecue to get nice grill marks and baste the fish with the teriyaki sauce. I love bbq salmon!
If you like a darker color and a spicier flavor, you can add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder to the sauce, but I think the wabasi paste adds enough spiciness already.
If you don't have salmon, you can make this recipe with any other fish fillets such as grouper. They're equally delicious.
For a vegetarian version, check out my tofu teryaki:February 20, 2010.