Soy Ginger Salmon
Growing up, did you have a favorite CD (or tape or album or whatever they call it now that everything is online) that you listened to constantly? One that, no matter how many times you listened to it in a row, never seemed to grow old? Fast and easy baked salmon recipes like today’s Soy Ginger Salmon have become the dinner equivalent to album obsession in our house.
Aside from the few of my mother’s unsuccessful attempts to persuade us to eat tuna noodle casserole or fish sticks, we ate very little fish growing up. Even if you had told me as recently as two years ago that I’d start making salmon for dinner at least once a week, I probably would not have believed you.
Of course, I also probably wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that Best Buy would first stop selling tapes, then CDs, and that, at some point, Jewel’s Pieces of You would not be my favorite album. Angsty child of the ’90s anyone???
To someone who hasn’t made it, cooking salmon seems fancy and intimidating. At least it did to me, until I finally decided to listen to every piece of healthy advice I’d heard and add more seafood to our diets. I read a few articles about how to cook salmon, pulled out my skillet, and decided to try it for myself.
Less than 20 minutes later, I had two perfect salmon fillets on our plates. They were crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and we only had one pan to wash. It was one of the easiest meals I’d ever cooked, and it tasted like it came from a restaurant. I’ve since made some version of baked salmon at least once a week for six months straight. Consider our salmon album set to repeat!
With all the easy baked salmon fan-girling (and guying) happening around here, you probably wouldn’t suspect that today’s salmon with ginger and garlic would cause a kitchen uproar, but it did. One of the arguments that Ben and I have often is that once I’ve found a recipe or a cooking method he really loves or works well, he is loathe to change it. “It works! Why would you mess with it?”
Why mess? Because you never know when you are going to end up with something even more delicious. Case in point: today’s Soy Ginger Salmon. It follows the same foolproof method as the salmon that first became a hit in our home, with an Asian flavor twist. The only difference is an easy, soy ginger glaze that you brush on right before the salmon goes into the oven. Ben was not pleased when I told him I was trying something “new” and making a Soy Ginger Salmon. (“But WHY?”)
Guess which version of salmon is his favorite now?
The method I describe in this recipe is for a seared, then baked, honey ginger salmon. If you have a skillet, a stove, and an oven, you can make it. If you prefer a grilled soy ginger salmon, you could use the same soy ginger glaze recipe but cook the fish on the grill instead.
We garnished our Soy Ginger Salmon with spring onions and sesame seeds, but if you are particularly pressed for time or ingredients, it tastes lovely without them too.
For a complete meal, try this Soy Ginger Salmon with rice (this brown rice is my go-to) and simply steamed or sautéed veggies. I also like to make extra Soy Ginger Salmon and use the leftovers to top a salad the next day for lunch.
This Soy Ginger Salmon topped the charts in our kitchen, and I hope it becomes a greatest hit for you too!
Tools I used to make this recipe:
- Cast-iron skillet: If you don’t own one yet, this recipe is the perfect excuse! You can use a different sturdy skillet, but cast iron really will give you the best sear.
- Fish spatula: I use this for EVERYTHING (veggies, pancakes, eggs), and yes, I use it for fish, like this soy ginger salmon, too.
Soy Ginger Salmon
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic — minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic-chili paste — sriracha, or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 skin-on salmon fillet* — (1 pound)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Chopped green onions — for serving
- Toasted sesame seeds — for serving
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Place a large cast-iron skillet or other sturdy, ovenproof skillet on a burner set to high and heat for at least 5 minutes. You want the pan screaming hot or the salmon will stick to it.
In a small saucepan, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium high, then remove from heat and stir in the honey and chili paste. Reserve a few spoonfuls of the sauce in a separate bowl for serving.
Drizzle the salmon with the olive oil and brush so that it is evenly coated. Place the salmon skin-side up on the hot skillet. Let cook for 3 minutes, totally undisturbed, until the salmon forms a nice crust. With a flexible spatula, flip the salmon so that it is skin-side down. Brush or spoon the remaining glaze in the saucepan all over the top. Place the skillet immediately into the oven and let cook for 6 minutes (the salmon will appear a little undercooked in the center but will finish cooking as it rests). Remove from the oven and cover with foil. Let rest 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with reserved glaze, chopped green onion, and sesame seeds.
- *You can also use salmon portions (smaller fillets), but be aware that they will bake more quickly. If you use sockeye salmon, please be aware that the fillets are thinner than Atlantic or farm-raised salmon, so it will both sear more quickly and bake more quickly.
- Serving a crowd? Feel free to scale up this recipe to suite as many fillets as you need—just don't crowd them in the skillet or they will not sear properly.
- This recipe is best enjoyed the day it is made. If you have leftovers, try letting them come to room temperature for about 10 minutes, then adding them to a salad or even scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1(of 2)) — Calories: 338, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 150mg, Sodium: 1213mg, Carbohydrates: 9g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 45g
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