Light yet flavorful and delicious, this Salmon in Foil recipe is a perfect dish for a busy weeknight meal. It takes no more than 20 minutes from start to finish. This dish is also featured on Netflix® “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories”.
Salmon in Foil, or SHA-ke no Hoiru Yaki (鮭のフォイル焼き), is a fast, simple and delicious dish. When I was growing up, my mom would serve a variety of ‘salmon in foil’ for dinner when she was short on time. All you have to do is toss a few ingredients into a foil, wrap it up like a parcel and let it steam over in a frying pan. In no time at all, you have a healthy meal that your family will love.
Salmon and Mushrooms – Netflix “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” Season 2
You can find this Salmon in Foil dish featured on the popular Netflix® show – Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Season 2, Episode 6). In the show, this dish is called “Salmon and Mushrooms” as they include both salmon and mushrooms.
Salmon in Foil is rather a home-cooked dish in Japan. You rarely find it on the menu at restaurants or Shokudo (食堂) diners. So let’s make it at home!
Why You Should Try This Salmon in Foil Recipe
1. Moist and tender salmon
No one likes dry salmon. Cooking the salmon in foil is all about retaining the moisture and tenderness inside. This method, when cooked over low heat, also ensures a proper steaming process. It locks in all the delicious juice, resulting in a lush and delicate salmon!
2. Versatile recipe
The recipe never gets old in my family because you can switch up the veggies and the seasonings. Salmon pairs well with a range of vegetables, so you can always include seasonal greens to make things interesting.
I included some of my suggestions below. However, I personally love this salmon, mushrooms, and veggie combination. They work very well together with simple seasonings.
3. Quick cook and easy cleanup
As opposed to the oven method, there is no pre-heating required. You can literary cook the salmon in 12 minutes. It’s that FAST! If you can wrap up all the ingredients in foil in 8 minutes, this is a 20-minute meal!!
Since everything is tucked inside the foil, it makes the easiest cleanup. There is also no oil or sauce, so you don’t even have to clean the stove or the frying pan.
Variations for Salmon in Foil
If you enjoyed this recipe and wanted to try out other variations, here are more suggestions for your next dish.
- Enoki mushrooms
- King oyster mushrooms
- Green leafy vegetables (cut vegetables into julienned strips so they will cook fast)
Instead of suggested condiments in the recipe, you can try the following seasonings.
- Butter + Lemon
- Butter + Garlic
- Butter + Shio Koji
- Butter + Soy Sauce
- Butter + Miso
- Butter + Ponzu
- Mayo + Miso
- Mayo + Soy sauce
- Miso + Mirin
- If using salty seasonings, add in sugar, mirin, etc.
My favorite way to enjoy this dish is to drizzle on Homemade Ponzu.
Do We Add Water to the Frying Pan?
I thought some of you may wonder about this – don’t we need to add water to steam the fish? The answer is no; the salmon will be steamed inside the foil, so water is not necessary.
But how about the frying pan? Will it be damaged by the heat? My pan has never damaged by this cooking method. If you are worried, you can add water but you need to cook an extra 2 minutes or longer. The water in the pan distributes gentle heat so it requires more time for the onion to cook through.
With layers of textures and flavors, this salmon in foil is predictably foolproof, every single time. Serve with steamed rice and miso soup, and a side of salad if you have extra time. With this recipe in your back pocket, you will have more reasons to cook healthy meals for yourself and your loved ones.
Other Quick and Easy Recipes
Salmon in Foil
- 2 fillets salmon (8.5 oz, 240 g; I use salmon from a Japanese grocery store, so it's a thinner cut)
- kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ onion (3 oz, 85 g)
- 3 oz carrot (2", 5 cm)
- 1.8 oz shimeji mushrooms (½ package)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 strands chives
- 1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter (divided)
- 1 Tbsp sake (divided)
- 2 Tbsp ponzu or soy sauce (for drizzling; for the homemade ponzu recipe, click here)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare Salmon
- Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides of the salmon fillet.
- Thinly slice the onion and cut the carrot into julienne strips.
- Cut off the bottom of the shimeji mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. Break up shimeji mushrooms with your hands and thinly slice shiitake mushrooms.
- Cut the chives into small pieces.
- Prepare two 12” x 12” (30 x 30 cm) sheets of aluminum foil. Thinly spread the butter in the center on both sheets.
- Place half of the onion slices and put the salmon on top, skin side down.
- Put two kinds of mushrooms and then carrot julienne strips on top of the salmon.
- Add ½ Tbsp sake and ½ Tbsp butter on top.
- Bring the top and bottom aluminum foil over the salmon and fold a few times. Then bring the sides together and fold a few times to make sure the foil is tightly closed and no opening. Repeat the same process for the second salmon.
To Cook on the Stovetop
- Place the two sets of salmon in foil on a frying pan and cover with a lid (no need to add water). Cook the salmon over medium heat for 2 minutes, then medium-low heat for 10 minutes. If you have 1 to 1 ½ inch-thick salmon, you will need to cook for 15-18 minutes (Open the foil to check the doneness).
To Bake in the Oven
- Alternatively, you can bake at a preheated 425ºF (218ºC) oven for 15 minutes. For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). If you have 1 to 1 ½ inch-thick salmon, you will need to cook for 18-20 minutes. Carefully open the foil to check the doneness, if you're not sure.
- Carefully open the aluminum foil to enjoy the salmon, sprinkle chives and drizzle ponzu or soy sauce on top. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 16, 2017. The post has been edited and republished in April 2020.