Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
New York Times food writer Eric Kim’s recipe for salmon marinated with onions in the funky, umami-packed, miso-adjacent fermented soy bean paste called doenjang inspired this adaptation of the technique. I liked Kim’s, but instead of cooking the salmon and onions together in a hot oven, I nearly caramelize them first, then add the salmon and a simpler but spicier marinade of bottled teriyaki sauce and gochujang, another fermented Korean soybean paste spiked with a dried chile powder called gochugaru.
Cutting the salmon into pieces lets it cook faster and stay juicy. While Kim blasts his version at 425 degrees, I like a cooler oven that makes it easier to prevent overbaking. Anytime you cook salmon, check it frequently and take it off the heat the moment you see any white, waxy stuff oozing out. That’s a protein called albumin, like the white of an egg, and it shows up when the temperature hits 140 degrees. The best internal temp for salmon is 120 degrees, so the albumin is telling you the fish is slightly overcooked (but probably fine, and the albumin is perfectly OK to eat).
One last note on pin bones, the needlelike pieces that run along the length of the filet. They’re technically not bones, but calcified nerve endings, but you still want to pull them out. Lay the filet skin-side down and run your hand along the top. You’ll feel them, and you can pull them out with needle-nose pliers.
Gochujang Teriyaki Salmon Rice Bowl
Makes 4-6 servings
1 pound salmon filet, skin on or off
1/3 cup bottled teriyaki sauce (I use Portland’s own Du’s)
2 tablespoons gochujang (local kimchi maker Choi’s also does gochujang)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large onions, quartered and sliced
Kosher sea salt, to taste
Rice, thinly sliced green cabbage and furikake to serve
Make the rice first, and slice the cabbage while the fish is in the oven.
Remove the pin bones from the filet and slice it crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Combine teriyaki sauce, gochujang and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a bowl, then add the salmon and toss so it’s well coated.
Cook the onions in a skillet over medium heat with the rest of the olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Stir frequently until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Spread into an even layer.
Pour the salmon and marinade on top of the onions and spread into an even layer. Cook in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes, turning the skillet halfway through.
Serve on a mound of rice with some of the sliced cabbage on top. Sprinkle with the sesame seed and spice blend called furikake if desired.