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Me So Crazy for Misoyaki Salmon!

Okay, okay! You can stop groaning over the cheesy title of this post. Admit it. It made you look, didn’t it? Besides, I prefer to think of it as a clever play on words. To each his own, I guess. This is what happens when you’re working on an accumulated sleep deficit. After a blissful summer of sleeping in until eight or nine every morning, the harsh reality of a new school year and a 6:00 a.m. wake up time stings a little. My body is still running on summer vacation time, which means staying up way too late at night. It’s going to take a few weeks to get used to it.

Back to the food. We all dine out at restaurants from time to time, some more than others. Although, I love to cook, I also really enjoy not having to do it all the time, especially on weekends or special occasions. The problem I run into is, that so many times the food just isn’t that good. I really resent it when I’ve paid twenty or thirty dollars for a meal at a “fine dining” establishment that I could have made better and cheaper for myself, at home. I suppose that this is the burden that we, as “foodies”, must bear.

On the other hand, every so often I find a restaurant that really does live up to its hype, and I’m pleasantly surprised. A couple of years ago, we were fortunate enough to have one such place open up practically in our own backyard. While Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion [1] is a chain restaurant (and I usually hate chains), I have found the quality of food and service there to be exceptionally good. It’s a little too pricey to be a weekly hangout, but it is definitely one of my top choices for special occasions.

One of my favorite items on Roy’s menu is their Misoyaki Butterfish. What exactly is butterfish? Actually, I’m not sure. My research on the subject yielded conflicting results. Some sources [2] say that butterfish are small, bony fish weighing just over a pound, with thin, deep bodies similar to flounder. Others [3] profess them to be in the pompano family. Still others say that butterfish are a fish called black cod [4], which is actually not even a codfish at all. Then, there are those [5] who say that butterfish/black cod are actually a type of sablefish, which has a high oil and fat content. Are you confused yet? Most agree, however, that these sablefish are probably called butterfish because of all that oil and fat they have.

Hmmm….. Now, where was I going with this? Oh yes, Roy’s Misoyaki Butterfish. Anyway, from what I’ve gathered, this dish is prepared by marinating the fish for up to a couple of days in sake (Japanese rice wine), mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), sugar and white “Shiro” miso paste. Then, it is seared until cooked through producing a golden, caramelized crust on the outside and sweet, buttery flavor and delicate flaky texture on the inside. This fish justs melts in your mouth – like buttah!

Since I truly love this dish and can’t afford to eat at Roy’s every night, I decided to try and replicate it at home. I was surprised to find several recipes [6] online for Roy’s exact (I think) recipe. I also found many other recipes on the web for Misoyaki Butterfish and Black Cod, including some great ones by other [7] food [8] bloggers [9]. Never one to leave a good recipe alone, I took a little from one and some more from another and came up with my own version.

Instead of butterfish, I used wild salmon, because it looked so beautiful that day (and because I couldn’t find butterfish). Since salmon is also an oily fish, I felt it would translate well to the recipe. You could also use sea bass, halibut or cod in this recipe with great results. I also added some fresh orange juice to the marinade, thinking that the sugar in the juice would help give the salmon even more caramelization. Another tweak I made to the marinade was to add a tablespoon of red “Aka” miso paste too. Red miso has a deeper and saltier flavor than its white counterpart, which would be a nice contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients. This idea came courtesy of Kirk at mmm-yoso!!! [10]

After I mixed up my marinade, I let the salmon swim in it for 24 hours. Even though, some recipes advocate letting it sit for up to three days, I wasn’t comfortable with keeping fresh fish in the fridge that long. After I seared the fish in a hot cast iron skillet, I finished it off in the oven for a few minutes until just cooked through.

Let me tell you, this dish was To. Die. For.! It was seriously the best salmon I’ve ever made. I have to say that my Misoyaki Salmon could definitely give Roy’s butterfish a run for its money. And the best part is that now, I can have it anytime I want!

So, are you a snooty foodie like me and think that your food is just as good or better than most restaurant fare?

What’s your favorite restaurant dish?

Have you ever tried to recreate it at home? If so, how did turn out?

Talk to me!

Misoyaki Samon (Inspired by Roy Yamaguchi and mmm-yoso) (Printable Recipe) [11]

4-6 fresh wild salmon filets (about 1-1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup sake

1 cup mirin

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups white “Shiro” miso paste

2 tablespoons red “Aka” miso paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon cooking oil

To make the marinade, combine mirin, sake, orange juice and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off.

Remove from heat and whisk in soy sauce, white and red miso paste until until mixture is creamy. Set aside to cool.

When marinade is cooled, pour it into a bog zip-loc bag with the salmon and seal. Gently massage the marinade into the salmon, coating the fish well. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 days.

When ready to cook the fish, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take filets out of the plastic bag and wipe off the marinade. Pat fish dry.

Heat oil in a large fry pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sear salmon filets 2-3 minutes on each side.

Remove the pan to the oven and bake until fish is cooked through.

Serve plain or with the sauce of your choice.


For some other great miso fish recipes, check out these other great blogs:

Miso Fish from Nook & Pantry [12]

Broiled Halibut with Orange and Miso Glaze from Closet Cooking [13]

Sakana-no nitsuke from Gild the Voodoolily [14]

Black Cod with Miso from Rasa Malaysia [15]

Broiled Chilean Sea Bass Collar in Miso Broth from Julie’s Kitchen [16]