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Nigella's Low-Effort, Big Flavor Mirin-Glazed Salmon

Posted Feb 17 2010 2:01am
I freely admit it, I like low-effort. As much as I love to cook, spending hours laboring over a dish with lots of steps bores me rather quickly so when I can find a dish that is almost effortless but tastes great, I am all over it. It's "Potluck" week at I Heart Cooking Clubs and since that means we can pick any Nigella recipe to make, I chose the perfect low-effort, big flavor dish; her Mirin-Glazed Salmon. Bonus--it's a pantry dish for me as I keep a bag of Costco frozen wild salmon fillets in my freezer (need to get those mighty omega-3's in the diet), and I always have all of the other components on hand. Nigella recommends serving the fish with sushi rice but I was really craving Nigella's Soba Noodles with Sesame Seeds that I made last month, so I whipped up a batch. (You can find the recipe for the noodles on that previous post here, they are so simple and tasty it is always worth making a batch).

The Mirin-Glazed Salmon recipe can be found in Nigella Express or on her website here.

Nigella says, "This must be the fastest possible way to create a culinary sensation. You do scarcely a thing--just dip some salmon steaks in a dark glossy potion, most of which you get out of jars--and what you make tastes as if you had been dedicating half your life to achieving the perfect combination of sweet, savory, tender, and crisp.

If there are only two of you eating, I would be inclined to stick to quantities, letting a couple of pieces or whatever you don't eat cool, as it makes a fantastic salad the next day. My favorite accompaniment here is sushi rice, and since I am wedded to my rice cooker, this is no work and needs no skill whatsoever. Just cook rice of your choice – or noodles if you prefer- according to the instructions on the package if you are cruelly rice-cookerless

Mirin-Glazed Salmon
"Nigella Express" by Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4)

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
4 (4 oz) pieces of salmon, cut from the thick part of the fillet so that they are narrow but tall rather than wide and flat
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1–2 scallions, halved and shredded into fine strips

Mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy in a shallow dish that will take all 4 pieces of salmon, and marinate the salmon in it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Meanwhile heat a large skillet on the stove.

Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn it over, add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the salmon to whatever plate you’re serving it on, and add the rice vinegar to the hot pan.

Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the scallion strips. Serve with rice or noodles as you wish, and consider putting some sushi ginger on the table, too.

Notes/Results: Excellent--the glaze is sweet, salty, tangy and rich, and works perfectly with the salmon which stays tender and moist. The sauce does evaporate a bit as it cooks, but I just added a bit more rice vinegar and it was fine. Although sushi rice would have been great, the soba noodles were a nice compliment and are quick and easy too. This is a dish that is so simple to make it is almost embarrassing, but it looks and tastes like you got it at your favorite Japanese restaurant. A keeper recipe for sure.

You can check out what the other IHCC participants selected as their Potluck dishes and see what they thought of them by going to the website here and following the links.
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