I had bookmarked a page describing a recipe for Korean roasted fish and had wanted to try making it for the longest time.
The recipe calls for a small-ish white-fleshed fish, something like a bass, but everytime I try to make it, the pickings at my usual Asian grocery seemed pretty thin for a white-fleshed fish. I did not want to do this recipe with tilapia, which had going for it its size, which seemed to me the proper size for this recipe.
One day, I saw a whole sockeye salmon shopping at Costco and decided to get it. I have a weakness for sockeye salmon: it is my favourite type. Seeing it whole (albeit without the head, unfortunately) always gets my heart a-pitter-patter.
Reading over the recipe again, I felt that the boldness of the sauce would go extremely well with the boldness of the sockeye salmon.
I started by chopping up green onions and mincing garlic and ginger. I added double the garlic in the recipe as I happen to love garlic.
We had some Korean red pepper paste (gochujang) in the fridge and I used that instead of the sambal oelek in the recipe. To compensate, I added a couple teaspoons of white vinegar as the Korean red pepper paste has a thicker, more viscous, deeper flavour than sambal oelek.
Everything else goes into the bowl to be mixed together: Korean coarse red pepper flakes, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and sesame oil.
One final taste of the sauce to check -- taste! as this is going to be the flavour of the sauce when cooked -- and I started slathering on the sauce on the fish.
pre-oven & post-oven
I put the fish on a rack as I didn't want it to swim in the sauce. I roasted the fish in an oven for about 40 minutes until slightly underdone as it had about 5-8 minutes to go under the broiler.
We served this with rice, green lettuce leaves, and kimchi.
This was delicious!
I loved the sweet, mildly spicy, savoury combo of the sauce and it was indeed an exceptional pairing with the flavour of the sockeye salmon. I would have preferred the sauce to be even spicier, and next time I make it, I would probably add a couple of jalapeño peppers for that sprightly spicy greenness.
A perfect bite would have the sauce, with some charring from the broiler, the skin, preferably crispy, and the juicy, moist flesh of the fish.
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Korean Roast Sockeye Salmon
adapted from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101987037
4 tbsp Korean coarse red pepper flakses
2 tbsp Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
4 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp white vinegar
6 stalks green onions, chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil
6 to 8 lbs whole salmon
(or, use fillets or steaks)
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix together.
Pat the fish dry. If desired, cut 3 slits into the flesh of the fish across the length of the fish. Place the fish on a rack and slather on the sauce on both sides of the fish. Reserve some for glazing at the end.
Roast in the oven for 35 minutes at 375 degrees until slightly underdone. Glaze the fish with the half of the remaining sauce. Turn on broiler and broil for 5 to 8 minutes until slightly charred on the edges. Flip the fish over and glaze with the remainder of the sauce. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes on this side.
Serve with rice, lettuce, and kimchi.