Combining the traditional Japanese miso seasoning with Scottish salmon is a match made in heaven, says Paul Newman.
Spring is most definitely in the air – the crocuses are up and the garden is full of bird song. There are glimmers of hope on the horizon and there is much to look forward to and do, so I try to steal a few moments just to enjoy the “now” in my day.
Longer brighter days – when I can actually feel the warmth in the sun (albeit still accompanied by a cold wind) – leave me looking for hearty fish dishes, filled with umami, sweet and spicy flavours.
As we can’t travel, I enjoy flicking through recipe books from around the world and let me tastebuds do the travelling. So today’s recipe for miso-glazed Scottish salmon is a combination of Scottish produce combined with punchy Asian flavours.
Miso is made from fermented grains or beans which are ground to make a paste. Deep umami flavours – you can get different types of miso paste – are all cultured and full of gut-healthy bacteria, which is especially good just now when our immune systems are drained.
Most good delicatessens sell miso paste in a jar or packet – or you can order online. It is a versatile ingredient and handy to have in the kitchen for soups and other places which call for salty, savoury, punchy flavours.
For this recipe, which serves four, I have used light or yellow miso which is the most gentle of miso pastes – lightly savoury with a sweet after-note.
Choose your salmon carefully – farmed salmon is regrettably controversial – but it is a hugely important industry to Scotland.
As consumers, we need to demand the best standards of husbandry and support our local industries to help them find better ways and continually improve standards and practices.
Go to your local fishmonger and ask them about their salmon – where it comes from and if it is certified organic or what the welfare status for the farm is like.
You will need: 2.2kg high quality, skin-on salmon fillets; fresh ground black pepper; 2 tbsp light miso paste; 2 tbsp soy sauce; 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar; 1 tbsp white or light brown sugar; ½ tsp sriracha (chilli) sauce; ¼ tsp sea salt (I use Blackthorn Salt from Ayr); ½ tbsp rapeseed oil (Scottish of course!); sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish; 1 cup jasmine rice; 2 cups cold water; 600g spring greens, washed and roughly chopped; 1 clove garlic; half a red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced; toasted sesame oil and rapeseed oil for stir-fry greens; 2 cm cube root ginger.
For the jasmine rice, cook in a large, deep bowl. Place 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water in a microwave on high power for 12 mins until the grains are soft and all the water has been absorbed.)
For the salmon: take your salmon out of the fridge to allow it to rest at room temperature
In a large microwavable bowl, pour in rice and water and cook on high for 12 – 15 mins until the grains are soft and the water is absorbed.
Whisk the miso, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, Sriracha and salt together till well combined.
Heat oven to 220C/Fan 200/425F/Gas Mark 7. Use a baking sheet and brush with rapeseed oil. Make sure your salmon fillets are dry and place on baking sheet skin side down. Brush with the miso glaze liberally.
Roast for 4 mins if your salmon fillets are quite thin, or longer if they are 3cm thick or more. Be careful not to overcook – you want them tender and pink at the centre.
While your salmon is cooking stir fry your greens: In a hot pan or wok add half a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Once the oil is hot (be careful not to burn it) add thinly sliced clove of garlic, some grated ginger and red chilli and toss in oil for a minute or two – taking care not to burn the garlic. Add your spring greens, a pinch of salt and a splash of soy sauce, drizzle of toasted sesame oil and fry until the greens have wilted.
When baked, remove salmon fillets from the oven, drizzle more glaze & scatter slices of spring onions and sesame seeds over them. Serve with a bowl of steamed rice and stir-fried spring greens.