Looking for a new way to serve up versatile salmon rich in omega-3 fatty acids? Try this tender and succulent Miso Butter Salmon that‘s pan-fried in a delicious savory sauce. Cooking time from start to finish is less than 30 minutes!
Now that your children are back in school and you as a parent is finally finding your way into the regular school-year routine, I assume you need a quick and easy dinner inspiration. My kids love Miso Salmon, which is frequent in our family dinner rotation and today I’m going to share a slightly different variation that has become such a staple – Miso Butter Salmon (味噌バターサーモン).
The Golden Combination of Miso and Butter
Have you had a chance to combine miso and butter in your cooking? Does it sound strange or unusual to you? If that was the case, you’re gonna give this new flavor a try. I promise they are so, so good together.
Miso and butter – miso is definitely Japanese, but butter? Well, for those who have visited Hokkaido, you’ve probably tried the legendary Hokkaido’s Miso Ramen that is adorned with a golden piece of butter on top. Yep, there is such a thing! Known for its delicious dairy and agricultural products, it is no surprise that the locals in Hokkaido utilize their best commodity in every way.
I’m not sure if that’s how the miso and butter combination was introduced to the Japanese, but you can certainly find many dishes that incorporate the two ingredients as a power duo. Miso is earthy and packed with umami, while butter is rich and creamy. Together they make the most versatile flavoring to dress up a dish.
How to Pan-Fried Salmon Perfectly
Now if you don’t usually pan-fry salmon, here are just a few quick techniques you may want to know before you start.
1. Make sure your salmon is closer or at room temperature
Before you’re ready to start cooking, remove the fish from the refrigerator about 15-20 minutes in advance. When the fish is at room temperature, not only it cooks more quickly, it also ensures even doneness throughout the salmon fillet.
2. Pat dry your fish before seasoning
If the fillets are wet, they are more likely to stick to the pan, and the skin won’t crisp as nicely. Before seasoning it with salt and pepper, use a paper towel to gently pat dry the fillets.
3. Use a spatula to press down the fish
Once you flip the salmon to the skin side, press down the fillet using your spatula to give some firm pressure so the ends of the fish won’t curl up.
4. Do not overcook salmon
This is always the key to juicy and tender salmon. Pay attention to the fish as it is cooking, watching for the change in color. You can see how far you’ve cooked the fish from the sides. Once it’s already more than 75% cooked, be sure to control your heat by turning it to low. It is completely okay when there is a bit of translucent pink in the middle. The remaining heat will continue to cook the rest of the fish. Using the spatula to give the sides a gentle squeeze. The flakes should begin to separate when it’s done.
Different Types of Miso
For this salmon recipe, I used Hikari Miso® Organic Miso – Mild Sodium Miso (shown in left top). It is made of 100% USDA Certified Organic rice and soybeans and is additive-free. It has a light yellow color original to Shinshu-style miso. A high volume of rice koji produces its mild taste and smooth texture.
If you’re interested to try it out, you can purchase Hikari Miso from a majority of Japanese/Asian grocery stores or on Amazon. It is my favorite brand of miso paste. There is also a variety of miso, each with a different flavor you can use for various purposes.
Accompanied by flavorful mushrooms, this Miso Butter Salmon is the ultimate weeknight dish for the entire family. It’s healthy and delicious, and I know your family will enjoy it often.
Miso Butter Salmon
For the Seasonings
For the Salmon
- ½ package shimeji mushrooms (2 oz, 50 g; skip or use other mushrooms)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (1.75 oz, 50 g; skip or use other mushrooms)
- 2 fillets skin-on salmon fillets (¾ lb, 340 g)
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
For the Toppings
- Gather all the ingredients.
- For the seasonings, combine 1 Tbsp miso, 1 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp sake, 1 Tbsp mirin, and 1½ Tbsp soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.
- Finely chop some chives and cut off the stems of ½ package shimeji mushrooms. Separate the shimeji into smaller clusters with your hands.
- Cut off the stems of 2 shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them.
- Check to see if your salmon has any bones and remove if there are any (I use a pair of fish bone tweezers). Pat dry 2 fillets skin-on salmon fillets with a paper towel and season it with Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Sprinkle ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour) on the salmon and thinly coat it all over. The flour will seal in the delicious salmon juices and act as a thickening agent for the sauce.
To Pan-Fry the Salmon
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 Tbsp neutral oil. Place the salmon in the pan, flesh side down. Cook for 5 minutes. Tip: You can see how far you’ve cooked by checking the color of the fish from the side of the fillet. After cooking for 5 minutes, you should see that about ¼ inch (6 mm) of the flesh has turned a lighter color from cooking. Be careful not to burn your salmon using high heat.
- Flip the fillets over so the skin side is on the bottom. Then, add the shimeji and shiitake mushrooms. Cook the skin side for 5 minutes.
- Next, cook the sides of the salmon fillets for 1 minute each. It is completely okay when there is a bit of translucent pink in the middle. The remaining heat will continue to cook the rest of the fish.
- Add 1 Tbsp unsalted butter and sauté the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms on top of the salmon so the fillets absorb some of the delicious sauce.
- Add the seasonings mixture to the pan. Coat the salmon with the sauce using a spoon.
- Transfer the salmon and mushrooms to individual plates. Spoon some pan sauce on top and garnish with the chopped chives and toasted white sesame seeds.
- You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month.