Sesame-soy sauce salmon

June 5, 2010 § 7 Comments

Sesame-soy sauce salmon is a simple way to prepare salmon. It’s a great Asian-inspired marinade of bold soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey that complements the salmon without overpowering it. The initial recipe, long since lost, has gone through a few ingredient adaptations by my mother, and now I’m sharing it with you! It also called for grilling the salmon, but my family thinks it’s also delicious when baked or broiled for a quick weeknight dinner.

I love this way of preparing salmon because simple yet so flavorful, and really doesn’t require much beyond some quick prep work and marinade time. Once you’re ready to eat, pop it in a preheated oven or on a grill and you’re ready to go. I like to serve it with rice and bok choy stir-fried with garlic, but you could also serve it with a noodle salad, spring rolls, or fried rice, especially if you’ve got company over.

First, assemble the marinade ingredients: honey, sesame oil, and low-sodium soy sauce. Then make sure you’ve got some nice salmon fillets. By the way, for people who wish to make this gluten-free, check ingredients list on soy sauce to ensure there’s no wheat gluten. The brand I use, Kikkoman’s Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, is not gluten-free.

In a baking pan, mix together 1/4 cup honey…

three tablespoons sesame oil,

and 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce. This makes enough marinade for two to four fillets that are about an inch thick and about four inches long (one piece per serving). If you are planning to grill and like sauce to serve alongside, set some marinade aside now before marinating the salmon fillets.

Mix it all around and add in the salmon fillets (skin-on for grilling I find is easier). Pour some marinade over the top and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes, or up to four hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to bake it, or preheat the broiler to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for broiling. A grill should be set to medium-high heat. Pour over a bit more marinade, and for baking, top with tin foil. In these photographs I used the baking method.

Bake for fifteen minutes and then remove foil and continue to bake for an additional five minutes or so until fish is just cooked through. For broiling at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, I do four minutes per side. If you want to grill, remember to opt for a skin-on fillet, and grill for about six minutes per side.

A good way to tell if salmon is cooked is if you see little flecks of white liquid appear, because that’s a protein that is released when the fish is done cooking. Or, gently press on the fish – if it’s done, it should have a little give but still be firm. Fish that’s not cooked through will be squishable. Of course, you can simply see if it flakes easily and is no longer translucent, though this does affect appearance!

Serve hot with extra sauce drizzled over top. Enjoy!

Sesame-soy sauce salmon

Adapted from a long-lost recipe many years ago

Makes enough marinade for two to four salmon fillets


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • three tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • Two to four salmon fillets (skin-on if grilling)

1. Mix together first three ingredients. If grilling, set aside a bit of the marinade for serving.

2. Marinate the salmon for at least thirty minutes or up to four hours in the refrigerator.

3. Meanwhile, preheat cooking method of your choice: 350 degrees for baking, 500 degrees for broiling, or preheat the grill to medium high.

4. Bake, covered with foil for fifteen minutes, and then the last five uncovered. For broiling, four minutes per side, and for grilling, about six minutes per side. Be sure to check for doneness (firm, not translucent, flakes easily). Serve hot with sides of your choice and with some sauce/marinade drizzled over top.

Note for gluten-free adaptation: check ingredients list on soy sauce to ensure there’s no wheat gluten. The brand I use, Kikkoman’s Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, is not gluten-free.


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