Teriyaki Salmon with a Twist
Ditch the check and pick up your apron. This family favorite can be made at home.
Serves: 2 • Prep Time: 2 mins • Cook Time: 8-12 mins
Teriyaki Salmon with a Twist
My grilling experiences have been limited. When I moved into my first apartment, I brought along a small George Foreman grill. Boy was I excited. How many times have I used it? A whopping once. But that one time was quite an experience.
Oh the joys of college cooking and inventive shortcuts.
What happened? My friends and I decided to treat ourselves to a filet mignon feast. We splurged on the meat. But, being broke college kids, we wanted to save money on the rest of the meal… including the red wine we marinated our prized filet mignons in. Yes, you can see where this is going. We dunked our steaks in crappy wine. And completely ruined our steaks.
Having no real BBQ, we were stuck with my George Foreman, which we had absolutely no idea how to use. So onto the George Foreman went our ruined, overly marinated filet mignons. Oh yeah–cooking tip: don’t cook expensive foods when you’ve all been drinking. Time just floats away, and then things get overcooked. Or burned. Like our sacred filet mignon steaks. Despite this dinner party being a culinary disaster, it remains one of my favorite memories. To make a wonderful evening better, my friends did all the cleaning.
For my next barbecuing attempt (with a real BBQ), I refused to let experimentation and luck decide the fate of my beloved salmon filets. I took matters into my own hands and did some research. After consulting with “The Experts” (i.e. the renowned neighborhood BBQers), I felt slightly more prepared to take on the challenge of the BBQ!
Never again was I going to fall victim of my classic newbie mistake: distraction. It takes mere moments to ruin slaved-over meat. So off went my music, into my pocket went my phone, and armed only with my kitchen timer, I was ready!
When adding citrus to my salmon recipe, I don’t want to overpower the delicate nature of salmon, but I want to complement its fatty flavor and tender texture.
That tangy twist
After selecting my most perfect salmon filet and properly prepping said salmon filet—rinse, pat dry, rub with salt and pepper—it’s time to make my sauce.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I love some tang, some zip, some pep. When adding citrus to my salmon recipe, I don’t want to overpower the delicate nature of salmon (don’t get overzealous, Rachel), but I want to complement its fatty flavor and tender texture.
This recipe calls for the ultimate zing: lime. Although I’ll stubbornly avow that lemon and salmon should be bonded for life (Rachel day-dreams about taking a bite of fresh sake, raw salmon, topped with dribbles of lemon juice…), lime is a worthy divergence.
When squeezing my lime, I don’t dare waste a drop—I even like to collect some pulp in my mixture.
My next secret weapon, ginger, completes the tangy twist. Please please freshly grate the ginger. It’s worth the extra trip to the grocery store, and the few minutes it takes to grate it. Plus, ginger lasts *forever* (almost), so it’s easy to always have some roots stocked in the back of the fridge.
Combine the soy sauce, miri, lime juice (with a hint of pulp), and ginger in a saucepan and stir over medium heat. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the chopped shallots and sesame seeds. Simmer for a few more minutes, until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
Pour some (a bit less than half) of the tangy teriyaki sauce over the salmon filet. To prevent a beautiful, dribbly mess, place the salmon filet on a sheet of foil before pouring the sauce. This also makes transporting the salmon to the BBQ quite easy, without worrying about losing any of the sauce, or making a mess. (I’m still finding tricks to help me clean-as-I-cook, instead of leaving a jaw-dropping did-a-bomb-go-off-? sticky explosion for the end. Not like I’ve ever done that before…)
Carefully transfer the salmon filet (without the protective foil) skin-down onto the BBQ grate. I place the salmon skin-side down so I can pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over the filet. Be careful not to make a huge mess in the BBQ. If using a charcoal grill it helps to place a tray down below in the bowl to catch the drips.
Cook the salmon, turning halfway, and remove from heat once the outside is cooked but the inside remains slightly red.
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The Best BBQ Tips
I asked the renowned neighborhood BBQ experts to walk me through the best way to charcoal-barbecue salmon. Their recommendations are as follows:
- When cooking one salmon filet, light two charcoal fires on either side of a center tray. The tray will catch the drippings.
- When cooking multiple BBQ items, especially items that require different heating temperatures and times (such as veggies versus salmon versus a steak), create a charcoal fire on one side of the BBQ in order to create a heat-gradient across the grate. This gives you lots of control when cooking different foods.
- When placing the salmon farther away from the coals, no need to flip the fish as the heat is distributed more evenly.
- When placing the salmon closer to the coals, it’s good to flip it to ensure even cooking on all sides.
- Cooking smaller filets straight on the grate skin-side down is difficult since the skin will stick to the grate and will come off as you turn or take off the salmon. To avoid this problem, use a skillet with holes or use foil with oil to prevent sticking.
- It’s often necessary to abandon your dinner guests for the sake of watching over the salmon. Your guests will thank you later, after you deliver a platter of perfectly cooked salmon.
A few pointers I will add myself are: cook the salmon for 4-6 mins per inch of fish per each side, take the salmon off before it starts to flake (flaking= overcooked), *perfectly* cooked salmon will be slightly red in the center, and please take a chance on the crispy salmon skin! My belly always thanks me.
Here’s how to make this delicious recipe
Rinse the salmon filet and pat it dry. Rub with salt and pepper. Place the salmon filet on a sheet of foil.
Freshly grate the ginger, chop the scallions, and squeeze the lime.
Combine the mirin, soy sauce, lime juice, and ginger in a saucepan and turn the heat to medium to simmer. Simmer for a couple minutes on this higher heat. Turn down heat, add in shallots and sesame seeds, and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens.
Let the teriyaki sauce cool slightly and pour about half over the salmon filet (on sheet of foil).
Let the teriyaki sauce cool slightly and pour about half over the salmon filet
Place the salmon (minus the foil) on the BBQ skin-side down, and carefully pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over the filet.
Place the salmon (minus the foil) on the BBQ skin-side down
Cook salmon for 4-6 minutes per inch of salmon (per side), turn the salmon filet, and continue to cook for the remaining time. Take the salmon of the heat right before it starts to flake. Make sure the salmon insides are still a bit red, but that the outsides are cooked until cloudy and light-colored.
- 2 Salmon Fillets
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger fresh
- 1/3 cup scallions chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
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Who’s Cooking Today
Rachel Zoë Silver, a recent Cal Berkeley graduate, has been a foodie since her first sushi at three years old. With heritage from the Pacific Northwest, she learned early how to select the best fish from the Pike Place market. Her parents, also cooks and foodies, schlepped her to the best restaurants up and down the West Coast and through Italy. Rachel was still missing her front teeth when she mastered her grandmother’s Apple Pie recipe. She is still as excited by food as she was when, at 18 months, discovered on the pantry floor, hands and face smeared brown, she declared, “Chocolate is Yum!”
More delicious salmon recipes!
The full FORQ salmon recipes archive, straight from our FORQ Enthusiasts.
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