For More Flavorful Salmon, Reach For One Umami Ingredient

Cooking up a scrumptious dish of salmon is a lot easier than you'd think, and it all comes down to choosing the right flavorings. Needless to say, with a never-ending variety of spices and condiments, your choices are wide open. No matter what you're looking for to cater to your personal taste, best believe you can find it in miso paste (as wonderfully demonstrated by our miso salmon recipe). Leave it to this Japanese staple to infuse the dish with a flavor complexity, good enough to bring the whole meal to life.

The epitome of umami goodness, miso wraps your salmon and its mild taste in a swirl of different flavors. There's a bit of everything, from sweet, savory, and salty to rich, tangy notes, all coming together seamlessly. This flavor twist is the center of attention, undoubtedly, but it still leaves room for the fish's natural lightness to shine through. It's the perfect balance between simple and sophisticated.

On its own, miso is already quite good, but you might find this fermented soybean paste to be even better when paired with other ingredients. Start with something simple, like butter for creamy richness. You may like ginger better if it's a hint of warmth you're searching for. Sticking to Japanese influence, teriyaki sauce is a fantastic idea. Miso-teriyaki salmon is a food dream come true, especially for those who like an umami-laden dish.

The two main ways to pair miso with your salmon

Starting off, there are three main types of miso to choose from: white, yellow, and red. The color's intensity often reflects that of the flavor. If you don't want anything too extreme, stick with the lightness of white miso. Yellow miso, on the other hand, is nuttier and more pronounced, but not as bold as red miso.

Most commonly, the salmon is covered in a miso glaze. It usually includes miso paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and seasonings of choice. You can also add other Japanese staples such as mirin or sake. Generously brushed over the salmon's surface, it coats your salmon in a luscious exterior that makes it irresistible upon first sight, promising a wonder of flavors.

With more time on your hands, miso marinade is another phenomenal choice, especially for infusing the salmon with flavors from the inside out. Seeping into the flaky flesh, it tenderizes the fish even further, creating a melt-in-your-mouth softness. It can be made from pretty much the same ingredients as the glaze. Keep in mind that miso can be particularly salty, so a few hours of marinating should be enough. Leaving it overnight might make the flavor more overwhelming than you'd like.