Broiled fish is a no-brainer when it comes to easy weeknight cooking. Fish fillets cook ultra-quick when met with this high-heat cooking method, and you needn’t worry about oil splatters to clean up later.
But while the method is sound, flavor development can always use some work. The first step is to choose the right fish. Due to its high fat content, salmon is well-suited to broiling. And its robust flavor is a great starting point to build upon.
I like to take a Japanese-inspired direction by stirring together a miso-based rub. Freshly grated ginger is a perfect complement to the earthy, funky umami of light miso, and mirin, a subtly sweet rice wine, helps to round out those flavors. A touch of brown sugar lends a bit of balance and caramel flavor. Whisk all of these ingredients together into a thick paste, adding a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil to help carry each ingredient’s flavor into the fish.
This distinctive combination of ingredients makes for a fine marinade if you’ve got more than 30 minutes to make dinner, but it works equally well as a simple coating for the fish. All you need to do is coat four fillets with the rub, transfer it all to a baking sheet and place it under the broiler. (If you really want to save time, opt for the pre-portioned salmon fillets sold at most fish counters. You may pay a little bit more, but that convenience makes the difference between an easy dish and one that’s a little more work. Just make sure the fillets are the same thickness so they cook at the same rate.)
The only remaining trick is to manage the heat. Broilers blast heat, which is great for browning the fish, but isn’t always so good when you need a more gentle finish. My strategy is to cook the fish close to the broiler to gain color, and then to move it down to a lower oven rack. You will need to keep an eye on it, but only for a matter of minutes.
This salmon dish cooks so quickly that, if you’re planning to cook a side dish (white rice and/or steamed broccoli are my picks), you’ll want to start those first. Time those sides right, and you can have a restaurant-quality salmon dish ready to serve in 20 minutes. That’s what I call a true weeknight supper.
Speedy Miso-glazed Salmon
¼ cup light miso
¼ cup mirin
1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
Vegetable oil, for the salmon
4 (6-ounce) skin-on boneless salmon fillets
On the side: Steamed white rice and broccoli
Position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler and a second rack in the middle of the oven. Set the oven to broil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the miso, mirin, ginger and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the salmon and gently toss to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and discard any remaining miso mixture in the bowl.
Broil the salmon on the top rack until browned, about 5 minutes. Move the baking sheet down to the lower rack and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the salmon just begins to flake when poked with a fork, or registers about 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Immediately transfer to a platter and serve with rice and broccoli on the side. Serves 4.
Per serving: 312 calories (percent of calories from fat, 41), 35 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 88 milligrams cholesterol, 455 milligrams sodium.
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