This is really simple but delicious dish. The fish is steamed in an aluminum foil wrapping together with vegetables, so all the umami from the fish is put in good use. What is great about this dish is that there will be no pots and pans to wash afterwards!
Foil-Steamed Salmon with Miso-Mayonnaise Sauce (for 2 persons)
2 fillets of salmon
1 1/2 tbs mayonnaise
1/2 tsp miso paste
3 cm of carrot
1/2 pack shimeji mushrooms
4 snow peas
1) Peel the carrot and cut in 6 slices. If you want, you can carve them to flower shape. Warm in microwave (500 W) for 1 min.
2) String the snow peas and boil quickly. Cool down and cut in half diagonally.
3) Cut off the stalk of the shimeji mushrooms and rip in smaller bunches by hand.
4) Cut the onion to thin slices. Take 2 pieces of foil, and put the onion slices on them.
5) Mix the mayonnaise and miso well. Put the salmon fillets on the onion slices, and brush the sauce on the fish.
6) Place the shimeji and carrot slices next to the fish. Close the foil partly.
7) Bake in 250°C oven for 20-23 mins. If the miso sauce seems to get too dark, close the foil.
8) Garnish with show peas and serve with rice and miso soup.
I had time, so I made a whole menu using autumn vegetables. Satsumaimo (sweet potato) rice, abura-age and green pepper nimono, cherry tomatoes & shunkiku (edible chrysanthemum) with white tofu-peanut sauce, and miso soup.
In Japan, autumn is said to be good for sports, reading, and eating good food. 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki) means exactly the last, and implies all the delicious vegetables and fish that are at their best in autumn.
鯖 (saba), or mackerel, is one of the ingredients that are delicious in the autumn. The only problem with saba is that as it is quite oily fish, the food easily ends up smelling “fishy” if the preparations are not made well.
Roasted Mackerel Sushi (for 2 persons)
2 fillets of mackerel
300 g warm rice
20 cc (rice) vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
10 perilla leaves
1 tsp white sesame seeds
(Pickled ginger, gari, if you like it)
1) Scrape off scales of the mackerel if needed. Take the backbone out, and cut off the bony parts in the belly as well as fins, if still attached.
2) Wipe the fillets with a kitchen paper, add 4 to 5 diagonal cuts to the skin side of the fillets, and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 10 mins. Wipe off the moisture with kitchen paper.
3) Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt well.
4) Cut the perilla leaves into thin stripes.
5) Put the mackerel fillets with the skin side up on a oven pan covered with cooking paper. Sprinkle with some salt, and roast in 200 degree oven for 15 mins.
6) Put the warm rice in a big bowl, add the vinegar mix with slow circling motion. Mix with a rice ladle like you were cutting something. This is to prevent the rice to get smashed. Mix until the rice is not watery anymore, and gets a nice gloss.
7) Add perilla leave strips and sesame seeds in two sets while mixing well.
8) Divide the rice to two, and put them on two pieces of wrap film. Use the film to make two even sized sticks.
9) Put the mackerel fillets on two pieces of wrap, this time the skin side down to the table. Put a thin layer of gari on the fish, if you want to use it. Instead of gari, you can spread some wasabi paste on the fish. Place the rice stick on the top, and adjust the form with the wrap.
10) Cut into 3 cm pieces and serve.
Lately it’s been so hot and humid in Tokyo that I wanted to have something light and refreshing for dinner. I decided on nambanzuke, fish in sweet vinegar sauce. This time I used salmon – or shake in Japanese – but other fish like horse mackerel or sardine can be used too.
Sake no nambanzuke (for 2 persons)
200 g salmon fillet
hint of salt
hint of white pepper
1 tsp sake
1 tbs plain flour
Oil for frying
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil
Sweet vinegar sauce:
100 cc dashi stock
60 cc (rice) vinegar
2 tsp Japanese soy sace
1 tbs sugar
1/8 cut of lemon thinly sliced
10 rings of dried red chili
1) Make the sauce first. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan and bring to boil. When the sugar has totally dissolved, turn off the heat and let cool down.
2) Take the seeds out of the peppers and slice thinly (vertically). Peel the onion and make thin slices vertically.
3) Cut the salmon diagonally to bite-sized, equally thick pieces. Move them on a tray, sprinkle both sides with salt & white pepper, and pour 1 tsp of sake on them. Let them marinade while preparing the vegetables.
4) Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan and fry onions until they become transparent. Add the sliced peppers and fry quickly. Move the vegetables into the sauce made in point 1).
5) Wipe excess moisture off from the fish, and sprinkle with plain flour. Pour around 5 mm of vegetable oil to the frying pan and turn the heat on. When oil is around 160 degrees, add the salmon pieces. Fry until light brown, then turn and fry the other side as well (together around 5 mins with low heat). Take of the pan and put on tray spread with kitchen paper.
6) Move the fish to the vegetable and vinegar sauce, mix carefully and move to fridge. Let marinade around 2 hours before eating.
7) Garnish with radish sprouts etc.
June brings the rainy season to Japan, and it’s raining almost everyday. With the temperature around 25 degrees it makes the season very exhausting.
This dish is served cold, so it feels refreshing even in the hot summer days.
Marinated Salmon & Avocado Donburi (for 2 persons)
150g salmon for sashimi
1 ripe avocado (+ lemon juice)
4 perilla leaves
4 cherry tomatoes
2 tbs Japanese soy sauce
2 tbs sake
1 tbs mirin
A hint of wasabi
2 portions of rice
1) Put the soy sauce, sake and mirin in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer until the smell of alcohol is gone. Let the tare cool down.
2) Cut the salmon in bite-sized cubes and mix with cold tare. Let pickle for 20 minutes.
3) Cut the perilla leaves in paper thin slices and halve the tomatoes.
4) Peel the avocado and cut in bite-sized cubes. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the change of colour.
5) Add some wasabi to the tare where salmon is, and add the avocado. Let pickle for another 5 minutes.
6) Put the rice into 2 bowls, sprinkle perilla leave strips on the rice. Put the salmon & avocado mix on the rice, and pour some tare on. Decorate with halved tomatoes and some perilla strips.
This dish can be made with maguro, bluefin tuna, or other fish suitable for eaten as raw.
I use brown rice for more nutritious meal, but white rice is fine too.
Kinmedai, or Splendid alfonsino, as its English name goes, is a bright red fish with white flesh. As many other deep sea fish, it is as its best in winter. It makes a highly nourishing meal when boiled in soy sauce based stock.
Kinmedai no Nitsuke (for 2 persons)
2 cuts of kinmedai
1cm cut of ginger
3tbs soy sauce
some greens (the photo is komatsuna, but also scallion, spinach etc. can be used)
1) Peel the ginger and cut to thin slices.
2) Mix sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar and put to a frying pan. Add also ginger slices. Turn the heat on.
3) When the stock starts to boil, put the fish to the pan with skin side facing up.
4) Make a temporary lid from foil and put on the fish so that it covers it without leaving space between the foil and the fish. Boil for 6 mins with medium heat.
5) Take off the lid and boil another 3 mins pouring the stock on the fish at the same time.
6) Take the fish out of the pan (leave the stock), and add the greens. Boil and mix quickly, pour some stock on the greens.
7) Serve with rice and miso soup.
Other fish can be used too, for example cod, flounder, sea bass etc.