Keiko’s Japanese-style Baked Salmon w English Cucumber Salad

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Keiko Yakimo, who grew up in B.C. and whose brother, Rickey, is the Dean of Agriculture at UBC, roasts salmon, which she’s marinated for about half an hour salmon, at a very high temperature. Whereas Kaori, my daughter-in-law bakes her salmon right in the teriyaki-style sauce, Keiko removes it, spreads it in a single layer on a baking sheet and paints it with mayonnaise or even Miracle Whip. She uses the entire side of the salmon, including the bones and the succulent belly flaps. The Japanese chili powder can be purchased at most Asian markets and is a pungent combination of orange peel, red pepper, sesame and seaweed. If it is unavailable, use hot pepper flakes.

Keiko serves this salmon with simple steamed plain rice. But before sitting down she reverently fills a small bowl and places it prayerfully at the beautifully carved family shrine. Later she will eat it, as prescribed, with no other food except Japanese pickles.

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) side of salmon
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Japanese soy sauce
  • ½ cup (125 mL) water
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) mirin
  • 2 tbsps (30 mL) grated ginger
  • 2 – 3 cloves grated garlic
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) Japanese chili powder.
  • ½ – ¾ cup (125 mL – 175 mL) mayonnaise

Cut the salmon into serving pieces and place into a large baking 9 x 13” (3.5 L) baking dish which is lined with foil and lightly oiled. Stir together the soy sauce, water, mirin, ginger, garlic and chili powder. Spoon half of it over the fish, turning to coat the fish. Cover and let stand for 20 – 30 minutes.   Rearrange the fish so that the skin side is down and it is in a single layer. Spread the upper side with the mayonnaise.

Bake in a preheated 450’F (230’C) oven for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes thoroughly and is beginning to brown slightly on top.

Heat the remaining marinade in a small saucepan till boiling; simmer till reduced to half the original volume and pass as a sauce. Serve with steamed rice and Cucumber Seaweed Salad (recipe follows)

Makes 4 servings

 Cucumber Seaweed Salad

English cucumbers are now widely grown in greenhouses across Canada thanks to Dr. Arthur Loughton, a Agrologist from the Simcoe region in Ontario who perfected their greenhouse culture. Seaweed, as abundant as it is on both coasts, is only recently being introduced to Canadian diets.

Although Canada is rich in a huge variety of seaweeds or “sea vegetables” as some authors call them, few cultures relish them or use them in so many dishes as the Japanese. Vary the amount of seaweed to your own taste.

  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 – 2 tbsps (15 – 30 mL) dried wakame
  • 2 tbsps (30 mL) mirin
  • 2 tbsps (30 mL) seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsps (10 mL) sesame oil

In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber with the salt by hand, working the salt into the cucumber well. Let stand for 10 – 15 minutes to draw some of the moisture from the cucumber.

Soak the wakame in cold water for 15 minutes; drain and slice into thin strips.

When ready to serve, squeeze the sliced cucumber to remove excess liquid; toss with wakame, mirin and vinegar. Drizzle with oil. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Anita Stewart’s Canada:The Food, The Recipes, The Stories (HarperCollins Canada 2008/2014) 

Photography by Robert Wigington.

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