I am not a born salmon-lover. I love smoked salmon but found fresh salmon (steamed or roasted) was dry, fishy and not wonderful. I enjoyed fish of all kinds and simply avoided salmon, even though I knew the health benefits it offered me and my famiglia.
My husband, Dan has debated and shown us the path to becoming salmon lovers. He always orders wild salmon vs. farm raised, a personal choice for taste/texture and our personal beliefs. We tested the flavor of salmon sushi (Isabella loves this, I am still learning to love it), and broiled and steamed salmon variations.
NOTE: I learned quickly that my issues with salmon was not enough seasoning and, most often, it was overcooked which resulted in the off-putting texture and flavor I disliked. Check your oven times when cooking salmon and be sure to check it often in the cooking process.
We love sushi and sashimi so it was obvious my famiglia would appreciate the flavors of wasabi and ginger in a roasted fish. So I researched and found recipes to test, not all of them worked for us. Dan’s love and enthusiasm for this fish drove me to create a recipe we could all love.
I came across a roasted salmon recipe that I tested and adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine’s March 2012 issue. The original recipe uses mayonnaise, wasabi powder, fresh ginger root and fresh garlic.
Although I love garlic in most recipes, I decided to remove it as I preferred the mixture of flavors (wasabi, fresh ginger and the addition of some soy sauce and even white miso paste) to complimented the salmon perfectly.
I removed the mayonnaise as I rarely cook with it and felt it was unnecessary in making this fresh and healthy recipe.
I include a mixture of baby bok choy, fresh scallions and chopped shiitake mushrooms, seasoned well, and roast them along with the salmon fillets. With the addition of these side vegetables, all you need to add is a side of fragrant white basmati or sushi rice and this healthy and delicious meal is ready to enjoy.
wasabi e zenzero salmone arrosto
2-4 6 oz. wild alaskan sockeye salmon fillets (remove the skin or leave it on, your personal preference)
approx. 1-1 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2-3 tsp. (or to taste) of wasabi paste
light sodium soy sauce
white miso paste (if desired)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. baby bok choy, halved
4-6 oz. shiittake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
vegetable or light olive oil
Purchase your fresh Alaskan wild salmon from your local grocer or fresh fish purveyor. Be sure to ask if it is previously frozen or fresh as this will matter if you plan on freezing it again before use.
Place your salmon fillets on a piece of wax paper and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper to taste (remember the soy sauce has sodium too, so go easy here.) Add a good sprinkle of ginger powder or the fresh grated ginger to the salmon fillets. Place the wasabi paste in small bowl and using your fingers, a small brush or spoon, apply a bit of this to each side of the fish.
Wasabi is an Asian herb derived from the root with a strong and spicy bite, used most commonly in the making of sushi. This ingredient should be added to your personal taste, Dan and I prefer our salmon a bit spicier, while I go lighter for the girls as they like the heat but not too much burn.
You can add a bit of white miso paste at this point, if you wish (make sure to season both sides.) The miso paste adds another level of what the culinary world calls umami, a fifth taste element described as “savory & unforgettable” (umami in Japanese means “yummy”.) I do not always include the white miso paste as it just depends on what I feel like doing on that day, the recipe is delicious either way.
Place the seasoned salmon fillets on a large baking sheet, spaced apart and add a good drizzle of soy sauce to each one along with a light drizzle of vegetable or light olive oil. Place your bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and scallions in a large bowl and season with salt, pepper, ginger and soy sauce to taste and add a small drizzle of oil and place around the salmon fillets on the baking sheet. Set aside and cover lightly with foil.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit and allow to come to full temperature. Once the oven is ready place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and cook the salmon and vegetable mixture for approximately 12- 15 minutes depending on the thickness (Please be careful not to overcook this fish, better to take it out and test for doneness if you are unsure.)
Serve the salmon fillets along with white steamed rice and roasted side vegetables and you might also want to try add a lovely un-oaked Chardonnay, a favorite wine we like to enjoy with salmon dishes.
Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti