I’ve been making this Sake Salmon for years and years. It’s healthy but so satisfying to eat, you won’t be left wanting when you’re finished despite it being a light and nutritious meal. The sake, soy and wasabi provide clean oriental flavours that make it uplifting to eat whilst a little sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce (or Henderson’s relish for fellow South Yorkshire dwellers like me) round out the flavour and add a layer of richness to the sauce.
It’s a regular on our dinner table as it takes a moment to put together and a mere 6 minutes of cooking time to cook so I can knock it together at any time, even when I feel so exhausted, my hand is hovering dangerously close to the takeout menus! It was originally a Nigella recipe that I have streamlined as I’ve found the fish does not need marinading as the sauce is so flavourful that it’s a bit of waste of precious, hungry minutes.
As long as you get a thick enough piece of fish, it cooks rapidly under the grill with a hint of pleasing caramelisation to the edges but a medium rare belly in the middle (prefer it pink in the centre of the fattest part so add a minute if you want it cooked through). As a home cook with nothing but trial and error as my teacher, I’ve always found cooking fish in a sauté pan tricky as for one, it always sticks on me and I never know when enough is enough but I can reproduce a perfectly cooked fillet of salmon under the grill every time. Some use their superpowers for good, some for evil; I use mine to cook my fish to perfection ;)
When I discovered that Nigella had produced a DVD of her book Feast: Food that Celebrates Life, I ordered it all the way from Australia off eBay and devoured the whole series in one sitting. It was a bit cheesy and she uses cup measures as the version she filmed was only meant to be aired in America but I loved it and the first recipe I tried was her Sake Salmon and both of us were hooked from the first bite.
It’s interesting as this version does not exist in the actual book version of Feast which as far as I know, makes it a pretty unique recipe for the Goddess but there is a version using steak there. As we loved the fish version so much I’ve never been able to persuade myself to branch out further than simplifying the method. Also, I batch cook a huge vat of brown basmati then bag it up in portions big enough for two and freeze it. It takes two or three 2 minute zaps on full power in the microwave to cook from frozen which along with the broccoli we love with it, cooks in exactly the same time as the fish.
How satisfyingly is it to cook all components at exactly the same time? Well, it satisfies my Type A personality ;)
- 2 salmon fillets about 1.5-2 inches across
- 2 tsp dark soy
- 2 tsp sake
- 75 ml sake
- 1 tbsp dark soy
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp wasabi
- 1 tsp Worcestershire/Henderson's sauce
- 1 tsp chilli oil
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 3-4 spring onions finely sliced
- 1 cup of basmati rice cooked by preferred method
- Steamed greens as liked - tenderstem broccoli edamame and sugar snaps are regulars for us
If cooking brown (or white) basmati to serve with, get this on first - I find brown basmati can take a full half hour or slightly more even to cook so do allow for this.
Line a small baking tray with foil and brush or spray with a little oil. Lay the salmon fillets skin side down (if the skin is still on) and drizzle over a tsp each of the dark soy and sake per fillet.
Preheat your grill to high (and by grill I mean in the oven, not the BBQ - but I don't see why you couldn't use that if you so wish!). Place a medium sauce pan of water on to boil ready for the greens.
Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a small sauce pan and heat on a low flame - you want to heat it through, not evaporate it all away.
When ready to cook, put the salmon under the grill for exactly 6 minutes.
At the same time, pop your greens on to steam - conveniently, I find tenderstem broccoli also takes 6 minutes over the simmering water in a sieve (as I don't have a dedicated "steamer).
When ready, scoop the rice into bowls, add a salmon fillet and half the greens then trickle over half of the sauce. There isn't lots of sauce but it's full flavoured enough to not need bucket loads of it. Sprinkle with the coriander and sliced spring onions and eat.
There's no real substitute for Worcestershire sauce beyond the Sheffield equivalent Henderson's relish but they are available online. They are brilliant for adding flavour to casseroles, stews, meat pies and even ragu. Well worth hunting some down.
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