Teriyaki Salmon Steak

Mmm… salmon.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Salmon sashimi. In sushi — especially as nigiri sushi. Grilled. Baked.

And then you can take a cut of fresh salmon, and sear it in a pan with teriyaki sauce.

There’s something truly magical about this dish, perhaps because the Japanese are masters of preparing seafood after all. And once again, this is a simple recipe, but within the simplicity lies a complex blend of texture and flavours.

The lightness and sweetness of the teriyaki sauce complements the natural taste and smooth texture of the salmon perfectly, without overpowering its flavour.

Here, the salmon is cooked very much like a steak of prime beef, seared quickly in a hot pan to your preferred level of doneness. Depending on individual taste, the salmon can be cooked briefly for rare or medium-rare, or longer for medium. Well-done is definitely not recommended, as overcooked seafood is probably not worth eating. Note that you may need a few tries to get a ‘feel’ for your stove in order to cook the salmon exactly the way you want it.

Important: For food safety reasons, if you plan to cook this dish rare or medium-rare, the salmon used needs to be extremely fresh (not from frozen). Sushi-grade is best, and if you can, buy from a trusted fishmonger. Always carefully inspect the salmon to ensure freshness, there should be no discolouration or strong foul-fishy smell.

Teriyaki Salmon Steak

Serves 2 as a main

2 very fresh salmon fillets with skin on, each weighing about 150g/5oz, preferably sushi grade
3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

For the teriyaki sauce:
3tbsp shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
3tbsp mirin
3tbsp sake
1tbsp sugar

To prepare the teriyaki sauce, mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a large sauté or frying pan over medium heat until hot enough for an open palm to feel some heat from the pan. (The pan needs to be hot to prevent the salmon from sticking).

When the pan is sufficiently hot, add the salmon steaks to the pan, skin side up.

Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the salmon turns light pink in colour. Add the teriyaki sauce to the pan. Turn the salmon over and cover the pan to prevent the salmon from drying out. For a rare/medium-rare salmon steak, cook for a further 2-3 minutes. For a medium steak, add another minute or two. Adjust cooking times as necessary depending on the thickness of your salmon steak.

The teriyaki sauce should thicken as the salmon cooks. If it begins to evaporate before the salmon is done, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan.

Remove from heat and transfer the salmon to serving plates. Drizzle the remaining teriyaki sauce over the salmon. Serve hot with sides of brown rice and a garden salad.