This is 4 ingredient magic at its best. A family recipe, this whole or side of salmon with a classic Japanese marinade is a stunning EASY centrepiece for a special occasion. I joke that Nobu, the world’s most famous Japanese restaurant, stole my mother’s recipe. And you can watch my mother make this in a cooking VIDEO!
Growing up in the 80’s as a child in Australia, the food my mother made was not normal by Australian standards. I was that kid who was sent to school with sushi rolls and bento boxes, when all I wanted was Vegemite sandwiches (Australia’s answer to America’s PB&J).
Little did I know – I was ahead of the pack. Dining every night on food that is now “all the rage”. Ramen, sushi, karaage (Japanese fried chicken), tonkatsu (Japanese pork schnitzels), to name a few of the better known meals.
Our Christmas’ weren’t normal either. While most of my friends were enjoying traditional Christmas feasts of ham and turkey at home, we were dragged out for a beachside BBQ for something like this.
THIS being a Japanese Seafood BBQ feast. Looks good, no? 😉
Japanese seafood beachside BBQ’s were something we used to do quite frequently. Most weekends, we would head out to a beach with our portable weber. Our most frequented spot was Balmoral beach which, back then, was relatively “undiscovered” but today it’s one of the most expensive places to live in Sydney.
We’d scavenge for sticks for the BBQ while my parents went spear fishing. Seriously. Sydney-siders reading this won’t believe it, but we used to catch octopus, abalone and fish at Balmoral beach and eat it for lunch. You could NEVER do that now – besides being illegal, all the marine life is gone! (Not because we ate it all, because of environmental changes!).
We fired up the BBQ and cooked freshly caught fish along with other marinated meats my mother brought. The smell was so enticing that, I kid you not, passer byes would stop and ask what on earth we were cooking. We’d give them a sample and (as a KID) I would think how weird it was that they would exclaim so enthusiastically about how AMAZING it was!
That’s me on the right there. Helping out with the BBQ!
So this Miso Marinated Side of Salmon I’m sharing today is a very special family recipe. It reminds me of my Christmas’ growing up. Back then, I was envious of my friends sitting in a dining table with a ham centrepiece. But as an adult, while I LOVE ham and turkey, to me, a seafood spread like this is what I think of as a very special feast.
The miso marinade for this salmon is my mum’s recipe – a very classic Japanese marinade. It’s only got FOUR ingredients in it – seriously!!! Miso, sugar, sake (Japanese rice wine) and mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine). Just mix it together, slather it on, marinade then barbecue OR bake the salmon.
And guess what? You get to WATCH my mother make this salmon in this video! So you can see for yourself how easy it is to make!
No sight of my Baby Hands in that video because that’s my mother making it! After I made the video, I sent it to her to see what she thought, and her only response was “Why don’t I get a mention in the credits?”
Oops! Had to fix that!
I know half the world is smack bang in the middle of winter, but for those of us in the southern hemisphere, we have summer Christmases! So rather than spending hours roasting a turkey, many Aussies will splurge on a seafood spread for Christmas Day. And this side of salmon is just about the easiest centrepiece that I can think of.
A seafood feast just screams of summer, doesn’t it? Beach, sun, summer fun!
In case you are curious, here is a list of what you see in the seafood feast below, clockwise from the top left. 😉
- Oysters with lemon wedges (PS You see how some of them are eaten? That’s because my MOTHER ate them before I finished shooting! BA HA HA!!!)
- Barbecued Onigiri (Japanese rice balls with soy sauce. LOVE the charcoal flavour! Recipe below)
- Asian Grilled Shrimp / Prawns
- Miso Marinated Side of Salmon (barbecue or bake it)
- Asian style coleslaw (I used my Asian Vermicelli Noodle Salad recipe but left out the noodles)
- Japanese pickled cucumbers (recipe below)
I mentioned above that I joke that Nobu stole my mother’s marinade recipe. Do you know the Nobu restaurants? Very expensive, very elite, and located in major cities around the world from New York to London, Dubai to Hong Kong, there is no doubt that Nobu is the most famous Japanese restaurant in the world.
And one of the signature dishes is the Nobu Miso Marinated Black Cod. I swear. It’s my mother’s marinade recipe. 😉
– Nagi x
- 1.6 - 2.4 lb / 0.8 - 1.2kg side of salmon, skin on (Note 1)
- Oil, for barbecue
- 5 tbsp miso paste (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1⅔ tbsp sake (Japanese rice wine)
- 1⅔ tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- Sesame seeds
- Scallions/shallots, finely sliced
- Mix together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
- Place the salmon skin side up on a work surface and slather with just under half the marinade.
- Turn the salmon so it is skin side down onto a large piece of cling wrap. Slather the remaining marinade on the flesh side.
- Wrap the salmon in cling wrap. Marinade for 24 to 48 hours.
- Scrape the marinade off (do not rinse with water) and leave the salmon to come to room temperature <- KEY for perfectly cooked salmon.
- Preheat barbecue plate side on LOW. Leave it to heat up for a good 10 to 15 minutes - another tip for cooking salmon perfectly.
- Add oil just before cooking. Place the salmon on the BBQ skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, then use two egg flips to turn it. Cook the flesh side for 1½ minutes, then flip it again so the skin side is down then transfer to a tray.
- Cover loosely with foil to rest for 5 minutes before serving. It will continue cooking while resting.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and finely sliced shallots.
My salmon side was 2lb/1kg and the thickest part was 2.5cm / 1" thick and I brought it to room temperature before cooking. This cooks PERFECTLY on the barbecue on low with 3 minutes on the skin side and 1½ minutes on the flesh side. Remember: the salmon keeps cooking while resting so you should take it off when it is still slightly raw inside!
It must be cooked on a low heat otherwise the sugar in the marinade will burn before the inside is cooked.
It is better to undercook rather than overcook the salmon. If you accidentally undercook it too much for your taste or it burns before cooked inside, just pop it in the oven at 180C/350F to finish cooking - it cooks very quickly, in minutes.
2. I use Hikari White Miso Paste which you can purchase from Woolworths supermarket - click hereto see a photo. However, this will work with any miso paste EXCEPT the type called Saikyo Miso (written as such on the label) because it is much sweeter than the other miso pastes so this will end up being too sweet.
3. To make this in the oven, preheat the oven to 180C/350F and place it in the oven skin side down. Bake for around 15 minutes - no flipping. Pull the flesh in the middle apart to take a peek - remember, it will keep cooking! To get a nice finish on the surface, grill/broil it for a minute or two.
4. This is delicious served warm or even at room temperature.
5. A 2lb/1kg side of salmon will serve 5 - 6 people as a main or up to 12 as part of a larger feast.
6. This Miso Marinated Side of Salmon is a great centrepiece for a feast. Here is a list of the dishes you see in the feast.
a) Oysters with lemon wedges
b) Barbecued Onigiri - recipe below
c) Asian Grilled Shrimp / Prawns
d) This Miso Marinated Side of Salmon
e) Asian style coleslaw (I used my Asian Vermicelli Noodle Salad recipe but left out the noodles)
f) Japanese pickled cucumbers (recipe below)
7. To make Onigiri, the rice balls you see in the feast: Place 2 cups of medium grain rice in a saucepan with 3 cups of water over medium high heat. Cover, bring to boil then turn down to medium low. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the liquid is just absorbed, then set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
While the rice is still warm, measure out ½ cup of rice and use your hands to shape it into triangles (or other shape), pressing very firmly. Brush with soy sauce and cook on the barbecue until crispy, or you can even cook it on the stove.
8. To make the quick pickled cucumbers: Cut 3 cucumbers into triangle pieces and mix together with 2 tsp grated ginger, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tsp soy sauce. Chill for 1 hour so the cucumber absorbs the flavour.
Thank you to Woolworths
When Woolworths approached me, asking if I’d be interested in doing a Christmas recipe for them, I must admit I was not overly enthused about doing a ham or yet another turkey because I just shared one (this Genius Dry Brined Turkey) a couple of weeks ago for my American readers for Thanksgiving.
But then Woolworths explained that they didn’t want “just another Christmas recipe”, they wanted something that reminded me of my Christmases growing up. Now THAT got me super excited!!!
So thank you to Woolworths, for giving me this opportunity to share a family recipe.
You can find all the ingredients for this recipe at Woolworths, including the side of salmon! (I know, awesome, right?! No need to fight the insane crowds at the fish markets – YAY!!!)
Woolworths are inviting families to share their favorite Christmas, food moments. The ones that ‘make it famous’ with friends and family.
Share yours and tag it so I can see it!