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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Miso flavor dresses up salmon dish

By Carol Devenot

 •  Cosmopolitan Filipino

Most salmon found at the markets is farm-raised, but wild salmon is gaining popularity.

BRANDI STAFFORD | Gannett News Service

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One of my favorite ways to cook salmon is to broil it with some type of marinade. I prefer wild salmon because it is less likely to contain chemicals and contaminants. It is also high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. I usually can find it at Kale's or Safeway in Hawai'i Kai. Last night, I prepared wild salmon shiro misoyaki.

Miso, made from fermented soybeans, is one of the more popular and versatile foods of Japan. The process of making miso goes back to pre-industrial Japan. Soybeans are cooked and then mixed with koji grains or beans. Grains such as rice, barley or wheat (inoculated with aspergillus mold) are added to the soybeans along with salt and water. This mixture is allowed to ferment from one month to three years.

Based on the color and taste, miso can be divided into two groups. Shiro, or white, miso is light in color. Hatcho refers to the darker and longer-aged misos. White miso is high in carbohydrates because it has a higher proportion of grains to soybeans than do the darker varieties. Light miso, or sweet miso, is popular in Kyoto and southern Japan.

Recent studies show that miso is a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals. Sweet miso is higher in simple sugars and contains about two times the niacin and 10 times the lactic-acid bacteria of dark miso. Because it is made with fewer soybeans, it is lower in protein and fatty acids.

Misoyaki yaki refers to grilling is a technique in which ingredients are marinated in a miso-based mixture, then broiled or grilled.

Though healthful in terms of nutrients, this is a high-calorie recipe: The miso, brown rice syrup and mirin add considerable sugar, and salmon is a naturally fatty fish. To lighten this recipe, remove the salmon from the marinade before serving. The marinade accounts for about half the calories in the dish. Reserve this one for the occasional indulgence when you have company.


For the marinade:

  • 1 1/2 cups white miso

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, grated

  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup

  • 1 cup sake or mirin (sweet rice wine)

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

    The salmon:

  • 1 1/2 pounds wild-salmon fillets

    For the garnish:

  • Roasted sesame seeds (optional)

  • Green onions, chopped in 1/4-inch slices

    Combine marinade ingredients in shallow dish.

    Slashe the surface of the salmon every 1 to 2 inches with a sharp knife. Place the salmon in the marinade and marinate for at least an hour. Broil the salmon, still in the sauce, in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

    Spoon some of the sauce on the serving plate and lay the broiled salmon on the sauce. Pour additional sauce over the fish. Garnish with roasted sesame seeds and green onions.

    Serve immediately with steamed kabocha squash and choy sum or other steamed greens.

    Serves 4.

  • Per serving (if sauce consumed and not including garnish or kabocha and choy sum): 700 calories, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, greater than 2000 mg sodium, 72 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 36 g sugar, 41 g protein.

    Want a local recipe lightened up? Write Light & Local, Taste Section, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; or taste@honoluluadvertiser.com. Carol Devenot is a Kaimuki-raised kama'aina, teacher and recipe consultant, and author of "Island Light Cuisine" (Blue Sea Publishing, paper, 2003). Learn more at www.islandlightcuisine.com.