Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Teriyaki Time

I was talking to my friend K, who said he'd made some salmon with teriyaki sauce. Of course then I couldn't stop thinking about teriyaki, not until I brewed up a batch. Naturally I would opt to use it with salmon too, since this is a match made in heaven -- and Margy loves taking leftover salmon teriyaki for lunch.

Two things about teriyaki sauce:

  • The bottled kind is almost never any good.
  • Making it at home is so easy that you should never have to bother with the bottled kind. A recipe follows this post.

  • My goal was to have a proper feast in the middle of the week, since we'd been eating so many leftovers and takeout meals recently. In the end I made a wonderful dinner that seemed fancy but was actually really simple and quick. If you already have the teriyaki sauce on hand and you choose white rice rather than long-cooking brown rice, this could easily be a 30-minute meal. Here's what I did in the hour before Margy came home:

    I put the brown rice on -- set it and forget it, basically. I started cooking the teriyaki sauce. I rinsed and trimmed some asparagus, tossed it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread it out on a cookie sheet for roasting. I sliced an onion for my superdelicious side dish, teriyaki onions. The sauce was ready by the time Margy walked in, her eyes widening as she saw what was going on. ("There'll be leftovers, right?" she asked, just a little nervously.)

    I preheated the broiler, and put the onions in a pan with a ladle of teriyaki sauce, under medium-low heat. The trick is to cook them slowly for 10 to 12 minutes and let them get all sticky and irresistible. Then I threw the tray of asparagus into the hot oven above the broiler, laid individual-serving-sized pieces of salmon, skin side down, on the broiler pan (which I coated with a tiny bit of canola oil to prevent sticking), brushed the fish with teriyaki sauce, and put it under the broiler. Twice during the 7-to-8-minute cooking time I basted the fish with sauce and put it back under the flame.

    This, of course, is an inexact science. The fish was done before the asparagus, so I took it out and put the veggies under the broiler for a minute while I arranged the plates. The asparagus ended up perfectly cooked.

    You have to try this.


    malthle said...

    I read about your sauteed brussel sprouts a ways back there in october. Was thinking how I haven't attempted eating a brussel sprout since I was a kid - when my mom would boil those stinky balls and then douse them with stinky parmesan. The smell and involuntary gagging scarred my impression of Brussel Sprouts...until recently, I saw them being cooked in a way that I've never seen before...the sprout was peeled leaf by leaf and sauteed with garlic and olive oil. It looked like something I would want to try. I'm going to buy some B sprouts at the Farmer's Market this week (they are selling them on the stalk). Gonna cook 'em up leafy-non-stinky-ball style and I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe it's something you and Margy will like.

    malthle said...

    Votre blog! C'est super chuette.

    the cook said...

    You're right, malthle, the leaf-by-leaf method is great too. It just takes a little more time than the slice-the-whole-thing version.

    malthle said...

    That's what a big glass of wine is for.

    -k said...

    It IS teriake time! Just by reading the recipe I see how the bottled stuff must fall way short. It isn't thickened at all, I expected it to have more body as I was pouring it, but it was watery. It must be the equivalent of "wine cooler" in a fine wine world. I am definitely going to try your recipe… I'm wondering can you use all sake and no mirin?

    -k said...

    BTW, I think my naked ass my be ruining appetites.

    the cook said...

    Don't let me fool you -- this sauce is not thick per se. I myself was surprised at how thin it was. But it thickens just a bit as it cools. No matter what, it's much better than anything you get in a bottle. As far as a sake-only version, I'm not sure. It would be quite nontraditional, I'd think, but I bet it would taste good. I'm thinking you'd want to use more sugar if you skipped the mirin, since you need some sweetness to mix with the soy-salty booziness of it all. Your naked ass is always welcome.