I realize that I don’t post a lot of savoury dishes. In the kitchen, my first love is and always will be baking. It’s where my creativity lies, and I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with recipes to put my own unique spin on things. But I do enjoy cooking as well, and sometimes I come up with a recipe that’s a real keeper. This salmon dish is one of them. It can take even a mediocre piece of fish and turn it into a flavourful, satisfying meal. Fresh fish is always best, but if frozen is what you have on hand or what you tend to buy (I do sometimes, because it’s cheaper!), it will still be really, really good. And it’s fast and easy to boot.
This recipe is inspired by the bold flavours of sushi. I had a lovely fillet of salmon one day and was wondering what to do with it, when I remembered the bottle of toasted sesame seed oil sitting in my cupboard. I love the flavour of toasted sesame seeds, and I bought the oil because I saw it on sale at TJ Maxx/Homegoods. But I hadn’t yet figured out what to do with it. It occured to me that the sesame oil might make a good match for the salmon, along with other flavours that come with sushi. I wanted a taste of wasabi, but with a little less heat so it didn’t overpower the fish, and a bit of scallion to finish things off. The result was so good that it quickly became a favourite dish in our family. I’ve made it with both fresh and frozen salmon, and it’s good every time.
If you don’t have any sesame oil, let me urge you to go out and buy some. It can be a little pricey, so keep your eyes peeled for a good deal on it. Beyond the salmon, it’s great in stir fries and salads. It’s a very versatile ingredient and I will be snapping up another bottle the next time I am at Homegoods. I use it to pre-fry tofu before adding it to vegetarian stir fry, and it really enhances the whole dish.
Sesame Roasted Salmon with Wasabi Mayonnaise
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp wasabi paste (more if you like it quite hot)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 (2-3 pound) salmon fillet, skin on or off, thawed if frozen
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
For the wasabi mayonnaise, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
For the salmon, preheat oven to 475F. Melt butter and 2 tbsp sesame oil in large glass baking dish inside oven as it warms.
Place salmon in butter/oil mixture, skin-side down if skin is on. Brush fillet with remaining 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Roast for 6-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Salmon will be opaque and flake easily with a fork when done. Be sure to watch carefully to avoid overcooking it.
Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
Place a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise on each serving of fish and serve immediately. Pass around any remaining mayonnaise at the table.