Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dear Oven Broiler

Dear Oven Broiler,

As you are a fast way to cook tender meats, you are an alternative to outdoor grilling.  Although I don't use you as a substitute for outdoor grilling (since I don't like to fill my house with food-permeated smoke), I do rely on your for one specific dish that I make: miso-glazed salmon.  Keyword: glazed.

I don't actually remember how this recipe came about, since I just mix all the marinade ingredients by eye.  In fact, I had to go estimate amounts of ingredients just to write this post (thus I do take credit for this recipe).  But I'm pretty sure it's inspired from The Cheesecake Factory's Miso Salmon dish, although my recipe has a heavier, stronger soy flavor.  I always pair this dish with steamed broccoli and rice on our dinner table, and it's always a winner.  It's quick, easy, nutritious, and best of all, very yummy. 

  • salmon fillet sections, cut into widths of your choice (I usually do 5 pieces, 1.5 to 2 inches wide)
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 rounded tbsp of miso paste (fermented soybean paste found in Asian stores)
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • large zipper bag
  • steam broccoli (or any vegetable of choice)
  • rice
  • Love Sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place oven rack in the middle position.
  2. To make marinade, mix soy sauce, miso paste, and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Place salmon fillets in a large zipper bag and pour in marinade.  Marinade for at least one hour.  Flip the bag a few times to ensure even "marinading."
  4. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place marinaded fish fillet on baking sheet over foil.  Drizzle some leftover marinade on fish.  Discard the rest of the marinade.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Check for doneness.
  5. Remove baking sheet from oven.  Change oven rack to highest position and turn oven to "broil" (which is 500 degrees with heat from top of the oven).
  6. (Do NOT skip this step).  Replace the tin foil with a new sheet under the fish filets.  (Or else the sauce WILL burn and you will smell smoke for days in the house).  
  7. Place fish under the boiler for 1.5 to 2 minutes.  DO NOT walk away.  If you must walk away, set a timer (and do NOT ignore the timer when it goes off).  Broil until there is a shiny, bubbly, and crispy glaze on the salmon filets.  This is what makes the dish.
  8. (Before and during baking, cook rice and steam broccoli.  Season broccoli with garlic salt or salt to taste.  Don't forget to toss in your Love Sprinkles while you're cooking.)
The oven broiler's high heat caramelizes the sugar in the marinade, which alters the surface texture, creating a nice contrasting crunch to the tender fish underneath.  So you will have some yummy-smelling miso-glazed salmon in the air for the night.  Since the glazing time is so short, I don't mind so much since it all dissipates by the next day.  I don't grill this particular dish because I want the filets to look perfect, and fish is too delicate to grill on the outdoor grill.  Plus, the glaze needs to be beautiful on top of the fish, not underneath.

My Dear Daughter will eat the entire plate of food as shown in the picture (that is her placemat, by the way).  That's how much she loves it.  My Dear Son likes his broccoli diced and salmon chopped and mixed in with his rice, and all he has to do is scoop with a spoon to eat all the food.  He'll eat a salad bowl-sized amount, which, compared to his normal food intake amount, is more than enough to make a very happy Mommy.

(By the way, if you like mayonnaise, and would like to try a variation of this miso salmon, substitute the soy sauce with mayonnaise, and spoon a thin layer of the mixture on top of the fish before baking and broiling.  The few times I've made this was on the outdoor grill -- not my preferred way -- atop tin foil.  This recipe offers a different miso flavor, as well as a nice change from the salty soy marinade.)

So, oven broiler, you have a very special bond with my miso-glazed salmon dish.  Other meat recipes that call for you unfortunately get the outdoor treatment.  Only the exquisite, orange-fleshed beauties have the privilege of transforming into a fine dinner with your help.  And only your superior heating ability and stable environment is perfect for rendering a nutritious meal high in proteins and omega-3 oils.  You two are a perfect pairing.

Bon appetit!



  1. Mmmm yummy! I love miso. I do a miso chicken a lot, but I've never done miso salmon. Since I have some salmon in my freezer right now - I know what I'm doing next with it! Awesome.

    PS Mitsuwa has miso on sale right now :)

  2. Ladies, I hope you do get to try this salmon. If you don't eat it with rice (rice is our staple), though, use low sodium or cut down on the soy sauce, or else it will be too salty. Like I said, heavy on the soy flavor. I bought my miso from Mitsuwa a few weeks ago... Missed the sale :( but one box lasts a long time :)