Monday, June 3, 2013

King Salmon roasted with vegetables in a miso sauce サーモンのちゃんちゃん焼き

King Salmon roasted with vegetables サーモンのちゃんちゃん焼き by naotakem


There are few "scalable" party dishes that can provide a good balance of protein and vegetables, but this salmon dish is one of them that I've made on many occasions to positive reception. Called chan-chan-yaki, ("yaki" means "to grill/roast" in Japanese, but the etymology of this dish is otherwise unclear) it's a specialty of the Hokkaido region of Japan, typically cooked by fishermen using local salmon (chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta) and locally available vegetables. The traditional method of cooking calls for an outdoor setting, cooking a whole salmon and mounds of vegetables on a large steel plate placed over an open fire to feed many, but this was made using a large skillet and oven at a friend's house for 6 adults and 5 small children - and replacing chum salmon with Alaskan King Salmon.

This is another "simple as it gets"dish - once you have the fish, vegetables, and the sauce ready, hardly any technique is involved. Purchased 1/2 of a whole filet of salmon (roughly 1/4 of the fish) with the skin on, ad seasoned well with salt and pepper. For the vegetables, we used cabbage, onions, green bell peppers, shimeji mushrooms, and green onions (other possibilities such as potatoes and sweet corn were considered, FYI) - all roughly (and unevenly, I confess) chopped. The sauce was a mix of white miso, sake, mirin, soy sauce, red pepper powder, chopped garlic, salt, and black pepper - as long as the sauce doesn't get too salty or sweet, any ratio is possible - mixed well to a smooth, liquid consistency.


The vegetables were cooked first in the skillet (well heated and with a dash of canola oil) - very briefly to coat with the oil but no need to cook through as the whole dish will be finished in the oven - then set aside to create an open space in the middle of the skillet (we temporarily transferred about 3/4 of the vegetables to a separate platter). The salmon was placed in that opening, skin down, then covered with the vegetables followed by the sauce. The whole skillet was then covered with cooking foil, and placed in an oven heated to 350F to cook for 30 minutes or so until the fish is cooked through. Once done, remove from the heat, break up the salmon and mix roughly with the vegetables (which should be nice and soft), and serve family style in the skillet. Can be enjoyed with some alcoholic beverages, or with some steamed white rice.

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