I am very picky about salmon, for my taste it should not be cooked even slightly past medium-rare. Our default method is grilling, and all credit should go to Phil for hitting it perfectly every single time. I don’t even try to grill it myself, when it’s my turn to cook dinner and I happen to be craving a nice piece of salmon, I bat my eyelashes in his direction, and he cooks it for me…. Now let’s consider the sous-vide approach: you can choose the temperature that takes the fish to that exact point you love the most, seal a bag, press a few buttons, and call it a day. No need to bat eyelashes! HA!
Due to the popularity of seafood in sous-vide cooking, one can easily spend hours comparing methods, recipes, and finishing techniques. A gazillion recipes out there. I did quite a bit of research on the subject before settling on this recipe. It rewarded us with a perfectly cooked filet, topped with a salty-sweet glaze of miso and soy. Of course, if you don’t have a sous-vide you can still cook it using other methods, roasting in the oven, grilling, then spread the glaze and run the meat under the broiler to give it that healthy glow and intensify the flavors.
(slightly modified from Cooking Madly)
500g (2 cups) water
25g (3 tablespoons) salt
20g (1/4 cup) sugar
70g (1/4 cup) white miso
60g (1/4 cup) maple syrup
14g (1 tablespoon) red wine vinegar
1g (1/2 teaspoon) smoked paprika
Comments: At first I was a bit skeptical that brining would be necessary, since the main reason for it is retaining moisture. In my mind, that would not be a concern when cooking sous-vide. But in fact there is a rationale behind it. Have you noticed that sometimes a white liquid forms on the surface of salmon as it cooks? That is albumin, a protein that sometimes gets pushed out during cooking. Some methods are more prone to this sipping of albumin, poaching being one of them. There is nothing bad as far as taste is concerned, but if you want to avoid that, brining works best.
This marinade is spectacular, and I have also used it on pork tenderloin. I love how just a few simple ingredients can perform magic: miso is like nothing else, vinegar cuts the sweetness, smoked paprika heats things up, and maple makes my heart sing. At the risk of repeating myself, if you do not have a sous-vide gadget, simply cook your salmon the way you like it, and use this marinade to brush the surface at the end of cooking. It caramelizes beautifully… It might just make your heart sing too… 😉