Miso-marinated salmon

Merrilees Parker adds a deep umami flavour to salmon steaks with sweet yellow miso paste; perfectly matched with a light sushi rice salad
By Merrilees Parker
Miso-marinated salmon
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 2 days marinating
  • Effort: easy


For the miso-marinated salmon

  • 150 g sweet yellow miso paste
  • 4 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 4 x 200 g salmon steaks, skin on

For the rice

  • 280 g sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar, or Mirin

For the dressing

  • 1 small bunches each fresh mint, and coriander (roots intact)
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2.5 cm piece peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

For the salad

  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced on the angle
  • 1 red finger chilli, seeds removed, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp pickled ginger, finely chopped


1. For the miso-marinated salmon: heat the miso, sake and mirin in a heavy-based saucepan until just heated through. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool.

2. Smother the salmon steaks with the marinade, put them into sealable food-grade plastic bags and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 days you can move the salmon around in the bags to ensure it is marinating evenly from time to time.

3. For the rice: wash the rice really well in a sieve set over a large bowl, changing the water at least three times. Drain well.

4. Put the washed rice into a large heavy-based pan with a tight-fitting lid. Pour over 400ml of water and leave to stand for at least 20 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).

5. Dissolve the sugar and salt in a small pan with the rice vinegar over a medium heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

6. While the sugar and salt are dissolving, bring the rice to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid, but leave to stand for a further 15 minutes.

7. Tip the rice onto a large flat clean tray - a cold metallic one is best as it will help the rice cool down quicker. Drizzle over half of the cooled vinegar mixture.

8. Using a spatula or a large metal spoon, fold the rice very carefully so as not to break up the grains. The rice will absorb the vinegar and become glossy. Add a little more of the vinegar mixture and keep folding until it is absorbed - you do not want the rice to be wet, so add the last little bit of vinegar sparingly and dont worry if there is a little left over. Leave to cool (fanning helps the rice to cool quicker - you can do this with a magazine or newspaper).

9. For the dressing: place the mint and coriander in a food processor, along with the garlic, ginger, light soy sauce (or Thai fish sauce), wasabi and lime juice. Blend until all the ingredients are puréed; then slowly drizzle in the sunflower oil through the feeder tube to make a glossy emulsion. Transfer to a screw-top jar and put in the fridge until required.

10. When you are ready to cook the salmon, preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and wipe off any excess - but not all of - the marinade.

11. Heat a frying pan over a medium flame, add the salmon (skin-side down) and fry for 2-3 minutes.

12. Transfer the salmon, again skin-side down, to a baking tray and roast in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until just cooked through. You can baste (spoon over) more of the marinade during cooking to keep the fish moist.

13. For the salad: carefully fold the dressing into the rice and then fold in the cucumber, spring onions, chilli and pickled ginger.

14. Serve the miso-marinated salmon with the sushi rice salad at once.

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