In this straightforward recipe for Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiozake/Shiojake), I'll teach you how to cut, salt, and broil your Japanese-style salmon fillets. Enjoy this flavorful salmon with crispy skin as a filling for rice balls, in a bento lunchbox, or as the wholesome centerpiece of a traditional Japanese breakfast.
1.3lbskin-on Japanese-style salmon fillets(or cut your own; I used the entire left side of a wild Sockeye salmon from Costco; I've used both firmer and less-fatty Sockeye and fattier Atlantic salmon for this recipe)
3Tbspkosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)(you'll need 5% of the salmon's weight in salt of any kind; for this 600 g piece of salmon, I used 30 g of salt; 1 Tbsp of Diamond Crystal kosher salt is 10 g and 1 tsp is 3 g)
To Cut the Side of Salmon into Japanese-Style Fillets
If your salmon is not cut into Japanese-style fillets, follow these instructions. Place the salmon skin side down with the narrow tail end to your left (the head end is wider). Next, cut off the tail's narrowest part, which is too small for Japanese-style fillets. Tilt your knife back about 30 degrees and diagonally slice the salmon toward the tail end. You can read my detailed instructions on How to Cut Salmon into Japanese-Style Fillets.
This 1.3 lb (600 g) side of Sockeye salmon yielded 8 Japanese-style fillets and 3 additional odd-sized pieces.
To Salt the Salmon
Evenly distribute the sake on the salmon fillets and coat well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, pat dry the salmon with a paper towel.
First, sprinkle and apply the salt on the skin. Then, sprinkle the remaining salt on both sides of the fillets.
If you have any leftover salt, use it on the skin. Press the salt onto the skin.
Line the bottom of an airtight container with a paper towel. This will absorb the moisture that the salt will draw out from the fish. Place a few of the salted fillets in the container in a single layer and lay another sheet of paper towel on top of the fillets.
Repeat for the second and third layers of fillets, as needed.
Lay a final sheet of paper towel on top. Cover with the lid and keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.
After 2 Days
Open the container after 2 days and you'll see that the salt has drawn out the moisture from the salmon. The fillets are darker in color and firmer in texture. Discard the wet paper towels.
Gently pat dry the fillets with a paper towel to get rid of any excess moisture. The salted salmon fillets are now ready to use.
If you don’t plan on cooking the salmon right away, wrap the individual pieces in plastic. I usually wrap two fillets together, as I often need two fillets for a bento box or four fillets for a family meal. When you wrap the two fillets, make sure they are separated by a layer of plastic so they don't fuse together in the freezer. This is helpful when you need to separate and take out just one frozen fillet.
Set one fillet on top of the plastic wrap and fold over one edge to completely cover the salmon. Then, put the second fillet next to the first piece, making sure they're separated by a layer of plastic film. Continue to wrap the salmon fillets tightly.
Repeat wrapping the remaining fillets. Put them in a freezer bag. You can store the salmon in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Before You Cook...
Defrost the fillets completely in the refrigerator overnight. It is a good idea to let the salmon sit out for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking so that it can warm to room temperature. Do not let it sit out for too long. Here, I will cook two fillets.
To Broil (Recommended)
Preheat the oven setting to Broil High* (550ºF/288ºC) for 5 minutes and keep the oven rack placed in the center position or 9 inches* (23 cm) away from the top heating element. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and grease it with (spray) cooking oil. Place the salmon on the foil, skin side up (for crispy skin). Tip: When broiling, you don't control the temperature in the oven; instead, you control the distance between the broiler and the surface of the food. It's similar to using hotter and cooler zones on your grill.
Broil the salmon for 8-10 minutes. Please remember that the cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the fish and the distance between the broiler and the food. Japanese salted salmon is cooked until well done (more dry and flaky). You do not need to flip it.
To Bake (Optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218ºC) with a rack placed in the center and bake the salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes. Japanese salted salmon is cooked until well done (more dry and flaky).
Peel the skin of the daikon and grate it (I use this grater). Gently squeeze most of the liquid out but keep the grated daikon moist.