My One and Only: Salmon with Soy-Honey and Wasabi Sauces

There are plenty of foods I’ll experiment with. I’ll tinker with tomato sauce, I’ll riff on risotto. But for me, no salmon recipe can unseat this one as my favorite. (I’ll admit, I haven’t yet tried Shiv’s Seduction Salmon with Honey Mustard.)

Before we moved to Oregon and became flannel-wearing Northwesterners, I don’t remember eating much salmon. As soon as we got settled, though, my mother was grilling it up (in the rain) with the best of them.

This recipe, for me, is the taste of home. It reminds me of my parents’ dinner parties, during which our little dachshund would attempt to steal a napkin from some unsuspecting guest’s lap and shred it to bits. (And then eat it, which was a pretty bad idea.) The salmon was served with a big salad and crusty loaves of bread, sometimes a dish of couscous with raisins alongside. Giant, thick filets of fish were consumed—even those who didn’t plan to take seconds always did. It’s hard to keep from licking up any remaining sweet soy-honey sauce from the plate. Whenever Matt and I travel west to see my folks, this is the dinner we request.


My mom has actually moved on to a new recipe, and that’s fine, but this is the one for me. If you have a grill, you can cook the fish quickly outside, but if you only have a broiler, that works just as well. It isn’t too smelly, I promise. Just be sure to leave it quite rare, like true Northwesterners do.

Salmon with Soy-Honey and Wasabi Sauces
Gourmet, May 2001
Serves 4.
If you’re only serving 2, I would still make all the sauce, since it’s delicious.

For salmon
1/2 cup sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 6 to 8 oz piece thick salmon fillet per person

For sauces
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 tablespoon water

Lime wedges for serving

Briefly marinate salmon:
Stir together mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger in a shallow dish. Add fish, skin sides up, and marinate, covered, at room temperature 10 minutes. Preheat broiler.

Make sauces: Boil soy sauce, honey, and lime juice in a small saucepan, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4 minutes. For wasabi sauce, stir together wasabi powder and water in a small bowl.

Broil fish, skin sides down, on oiled rack of a broiler pan 5 to 7 inches from heat until fish is still pink inside, 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook! Serve salmon drizzled with sauces, with lime wedges for squeezing.

Soy-honey and wasabi sauces can be made 2 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. Salmon is good with lightly steamed/sauteed vegetables (pea shoots, asparagus, shitake mushrooms) tossed with a tablespoon of hoisin.

In asian, broil, fish, grilling, salmon, soy, wasabi

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