We have access to such amazing wild seafood in Alaska that when it comes to cooking, the "less is more" approach often works best. But there's more to flavoring fish than salt and pepper, and maybe a squeeze of lemon. Salmon, and reds in particular, can stand up to a bolder seasoning. I love the richness of kings but the delicate flavor beckons for a lighter hand when it comes to the kitchen. Think potato-crusted with a silky beurre blanc.
I find that reds and silvers hold up well to sauces with some bite and sass. And because reds are a bit leaner, including some well-browned butter, as in this recipe, helps to balance out the bite of ginger and garlic; roasting at a high temperature transforms the butter into a dark, nutty sizzle. Be sure to use unsalted butter, since there's soy sauce in the marinade. Any extra pan drippings are delicious with steamed rice and vegetables or soaked up with good bread.
1 (1.5- to 2-pound fillet) sockeye salmon; skin on is fine
3 tablespoons tamari or low-sodium dark soy sauce
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light sesame oil
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (optional)
Juice of 1 whole fresh lime or lemon, plus more slices for serving
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into about 10 pieces
1. Remove and discard any pin bones from salmon fillet. Pat salmon dry; set aside in a shallow, rimmed baking sheet or in a large, heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the tamari, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil and Sriracha, if using; whisk to combine. Add lime juice. Pour over salmon fillet and turn fillet once or twice to coat with mixture. Store, covered or sealed in a bag, in refrigerator for at least two hours and up to four hours.
3. Heat oven to 500 degrees (alternatively, you can grill the salmon fillet). Remove salmon fillet from marinade, wiping off any excess marinade with hands or a paper towel. Place fillet on a large, rimmed baking sheet if marinated in a plastic bag. Top evenly with butter cubes and cook for eight minutes and until butter is browned and sizzling. Serve warm with lime wedges.
Kim Sunée is the best-selling author of "Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home." She ate and lived in Europe for 10 years before working as a food editor for Southern Living magazine and Cottage Living magazine. Sunée has appeared several times as a guest judge on the Food Network's "Iron Chef America." She lives in Anchorage and her latest cookbook is "A Mouthful of Stars." For more food and travel, visit kimsunee.com or instagram.com/kimsunee.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing