Teriyaki Glazed Wild Salmon
You will love this variation of teriyaki salmon inspired by sushi chef technique of preparing salmon belly.
Salmon is such a diverse subject that we could talk about it forever. I will just talk about a few things that come to mind and expand on the topic in future blogs. The majority of commercially sold salmon is farm raised Atlantic salmon. According to Flatt (NPR, 2017), “Atlantic farmed salmon are highly domesticated, grow quickly, have a higher disease resistance and people are accustomed to the taste”. Wild Pacific salmon is going to be the seasonal salmon you see sporadically in markets and on fine dining menus. Ironically, most U.S. farm raised salmon come from the Pacific Northwest.
Procuring wild Atlantic salmon is rare (1%) as most of it is farm raised. Seasonal wild salmon supply is inconsistent and typically expensive. Some of the types of wild salmon that we see in local markets are Alaskan King, Sockeye and Coho. There are variations with size, color and texture between the different types. I have seen King salmon with meat that was orange and other types that were almost completely white. Sockeye tends to be more of a dark reddish orange. I have only seen wild Pink salmon either flash frozen or canned.
Salmon is probably the easiest protein to work with. You can salt it, freeze it, eat it raw, pan-sear, grill, deep fry, broil, poach, bake and even burn the skin to a crisp (which is edible). Whatever you do with it, salmon is very resilient.
FARMED SALMON GOOD OR BAD?
I tend to avoid farm raised U.S Atlantic Salmon and farm raised Chilean Salmon. Through my years in the restaurant industry, I’ve done a lot of research and I have strong opinions on this subject. There is a discernible difference in quality and taste. Farm raised salmon are a profitable venture and often they are treated as commodities. In some places, extremely confined living conditions are combined with pollutants, contaminants, antibiotics and diseases. Studies have shown potential health issues in human beings are attributed to the consumption of farm raised fish.
That is not to say that there are not problems in the wild as well. Fish like tuna and salmon have been known to contain high level of mercury due to ocean contamination. As always, we promote a balanced diet, eating foods in moderation for a healthy lifestyle.
There is quality in some farm raised environments. When I used to purchase fish, farm raised salmon in the U.S. was about $6 a pound as opposed to Scottish Loch Duart salmon (also farm raised) which was $15 a pound. According to Loch Duart, “unlike most farmed salmon, Loch Duart feeds a mainly marine based diet – using sustainably caught fish. This is best for their metabolism, enhancing fish health and delivering a delicious salmon to the table”. In this case I would agree with that statement. The flavor, color and texture alone were beyond compare. In the case of a restaurant it just comes down to a matter of food cost and demand.
*Notes: Atlantic and Pacific Salmon are unable to mate and produce offspring. Farmed salmon that escape into the wild have a very minuscule survival rate due to the genetics of living in a confined environment.
WHY DO WE EAT SALMON?
First of all it tastes good in many different cooking applications. Quality salmon are a good source of protein. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are attributed to brain development and aide in decreasing the risks of cardiovascular disease. The Washington State Department of Health reports that, “farmed salmon fillets contain as many grams of omega-3 fatty acids as wild salmon because farmed salmon are fattier than wild salmon”. However, the levels in both wild and farm raised vary dramatically depending on diet. As a general rule, studies have shown that wild salmon in their natural environment will have higher levels of omega-3.
Back to my years in Japanese kitchens…
Teriyaki sauce has been done a thousand times over. It is a condiment that works well with salmon. I have had many variations of teriyaki ranging from overly sweet, to fruity or just plain salty. It can be used as a glaze, marinade and finishing sauce. Traditional teriyaki sauce made in Japanese restaurants was not that sweet and only had three simple ingredients. They were water, soy sauce and a little bit of sugar. The sauce was cooked in a large pot over low heat allowing it to reduce and thicken over the course of 2-3 days. It needs to be monitored to avoid burning it. Some applications will skip the reduction and use corn starch as a thickening agent.
COOKING THE TERIYAKI SALMON
I love this variation because of the taste combination that is a subtle variation from salmon with just teriyaki sauce. Also, there is a difference when pan searing and using teriyaki as a finishing sauce rather than glazing it in the oven. I picked up almost a pound of center cut Atlantic salmon that was labeled “wild Canadian”. After removing the skin which I am saving for later, I cut the salmon into four ounce portions. Set your oven to a low broil and preheat. Place the salmon on tin foil and brush on the teriyaki as a glaze. Depending on your oven or toaster oven, the cook time will be about 20 minutes. It is important that you re-apply glaze over all exposed sides of the fish every couple of minutes. This allows the sauce to slowly caramelize around the fish.
*Cooking Notes: Keeping the oven at a low boil and reapplication of the glaze prevents the sauce from burning.
*CrossEat Tip: You can leave the skin on the salmon as long as the scales are removed it is perfectly edible and nutritious. Cook skin side down in the pan till it is very browned and crisp. If you prefer skinless, save the skin for your dog’s meal. I will usually crisp up (unseasoned) salmon skin in the toaster oven and add to her dinner.
Plating the teriyaki salmon
In the last 2 minutes, add a half tablespoon of kewpie mayonnaise (Japanese mayo) on top of each piece of salmon. Remove the salmon from the oven. Garnish with as much green onions and masago (smelt roe) as you want. If you like spice, add a bit of togarashi (Japanese 7 spice pepper). Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve with rice. This can also be eaten as an appetizer or snack. I promise you will love this.
Thanks for reading our Teriyaki Salmon Recipe and enjoy!
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