I'm always stealing ideas from my family. The latest cooking technique I stole was from my Aunt Judy (who also inspired Kayoko's Happy Hour post last week), who specializes in making drinks and savory foods to along with it. Aunt Judy had read somewhere that a beef restaurant in Japan was trying to find a way to extend the life of meat, so they came up with a mixture that would allow you to store raw beef for up to a month!
The secret? A tub full of shio koji, miso, and kasu (sake lees, a yeast by-product of sake making). I have yet to try this method with beef, but I did try it with salmon. And although I didn't keep the fish in the mixture for a month, I did keep the salmon marinating in little sandwich bags for three days. This was enough time for the flavors to seep in and tenderize the fish tails.
Speaking of the flavor, it includes all senses except for sourness. There's a sweet bitterness from the sake kasu, plus a robust caramel flavor from the red miso, and mild umami from the shio koji.
Lately, I've been really into marinating fish and meats with koji and kasu because it can be prepared ahead of time and bring out maximum umami. I am frugal at heart so these marinades are also great because you can get less-than-tender cuts of meat and fish (aka cheaper) and let the koji do the tenderizing for you.
Makes 2 servings
2 3/4-lb salmon tails
2 sealable sandwich bags
3 oz sake kasu
2 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp red miso
2 tbsp shio koji
1. In a bowl, mix all marinade ingredients together.
2. Put each salmon tail in a sandwich bag.
3. Put half of the marinade mixture into each bag.
Seal the bag, let the excess air out and massage the marinade into the fish.
4. Keep in the refrigerator for three days.
5. After three days, remove the tails out of the bag and remove as much of the marinade as you can with your hands.
6. Preheat the broiler of an oven or toaster oven.
7. Broil the salmon skin side down for 10 minutes.
8. Flip the tails over and finish broiling skin side up for 10 minutes.
9. Serve alongside a bowl of white rice.
I invited Kayoko over for lunch to enjoy these tails with me. We both agreed that the marinade made the salmon very fluffy in texture. And although the tails looked pretty big on our plates, we had no problem finishing one each! Thanks for the tip, Aunt Judy.