Friday, May 31, 2013

Homemade Teriyaki BBQ Sauce with Salmon

Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy. – Robert A. Heinlein 

An easy BBQ sauce, better flavour than commercial and cheap too.

I’m assuming the above quote doesn’t include adults. Let’s go on that assumption, because today’s recipe is easy. Just what one needs on a warm outdoor weekend.

This weekend is supposed to be pretty wonderful, so many of us will be making our way to backyards and patios for BBQs. We’ll have other activities on our minds than cooking.

Probably one of those activities will be breaking out the BBQ. For most that means meat on the grill, but we shouldn’t forget fish. Fish on a grill is easy. All you need to do is place it on tinfoil so it doesn’t end up down through the grates and on the fire.

Fish like salmon doesn’t take to traditional tomato barbecue sauce (yuck), but one sauce that tastes fantastic – and crosses over to meat – is teriyaki. It’s great on pork, beef and chicken and  can even be used to grill veggies. It’s also disgustingly simple to make at home.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with teriyaki sauce. I love its taste, but hate to buy it because of the price. I find it difficult to put a bottle in my grocery cart, because it’s so cheap and easy to make at home. That’s me in a nutshell – cheap and easy.

This recipe fits perfectly with that philosophy. If you can find salmon "on sale" this meal for four can be inexpensive, and remember frozen salmon always costs less than fresh. If you buy frozen steelhead trout it’s even more cost effective. 

Steelhead trout is becoming far more common in grocery stores. It’s usually sold as full filets. If you don’t look closely you would swear it was salmon. And when you cook it I swear you won’t be able to tell the difference. We couldn’t. 

Making teriyaki sauce is something we should all know how to do. It takes so few ingredients and they’re all kitchen staples. It literally takes about 8-10 minutes to make about 1-1/4 cups. That time is from chopping the ginger to turning off the heat under the pot when done.

Homemade teriyaki is so much more flavourful than most of the bottled brands on the market. At least that’s my humble opinion. This one's a real keeper.

The only “strange” ingredient used in my salmon teriyaki is nanmi togarashi which is sold in Asian groceries – and probably larger grocery chains. It’s a mixture of ground chilli, sesame and orange peel. I used it on the veggies and rice. It adds a distinct, wonderful Asian flavour boost. I would imagine most of us have eaten it at a restaurant and didn’t know what it was.

Except for the teriyaki sauce this meal is quite healthy: raw vegetables atop rice with a delicious piece of fish. Let’s just pretend that teriyaki has no salt and sugar in it.

Actually, let’s not. It’s amazing, amazing stuff. The recipe makes about twice as much as you will need, but I wouldn’t worry about it lounging in your refrigerator. You’ll find uses if there’s any left over.

I have been severely disappointed more than once by the lunch-sized teriyaki salmon bowls that are sold at one of our larger grocery chains. I keep hoping “this next one will be good.” But it never is. Leave them in the display case.

This recipe banished all my bad memories about teriyaki salmon. Give it a try. You’ll love it too.

I did this recipe a while ago, so my directions are for the oven, but if you’re grilling place the salmon on foil on your BBQ grate, brush the fish with the sauce and cook until done.

Mmmmm... teriyaki.

Best Teriyaki Sauce
Time: 10 min  |  Yield 1+ cup
1/2” fresh ginger, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup water*
1/4 cup natural brewed soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar**
5 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

Homemade Teriyaki with Salmon Bowl
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook: 20-25 min  |  Serves 4
4 salmon portions
sushi rice for 4 (2 cups raw)
teriyaki sauce, recipe below
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced and chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
nanami togarashi (assorted chilli pepper topping)*

Preheat the oven to 375°F (or fire up the grill). While the oven is heating make the teriyaki sauce.

Peel and mince both the garlic and ginger. Place in a small saucepan with the water, soy, rice vinegar, brown sugar and honey.

Mix the cornstarch and water together and stir in to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boli, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes, Until very glossy and thickened.

Any leftover teriyaki can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Place the salmon portions on foil in a rimmed baking dish. Generously paint the top of each fillet with teriyaki. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes for every inch of thickness.

While the fish is baking, prepare the sushi rice and chop the carrot, green pepper and green onions. To make very thin pieces of carrot and green pepper use a mandolin. Then chop into strips.

To serve, divide the hot rice among four bowls. Add some chopped carrot, green pepper and green onion and sprinkle well with the nanami togarashi.

Top with the salmon and drizzle more teriyaki sauce, if desired. (Give in to desire...)

* For an interesting variation, try substituting the water for either orange or pineapple juice.

** If you don't have rice vinegar substitute 2 tbsp cider vinegar mixed with 2 tbsp water.


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