Shiozake (shio=salt, sake/zake=salmon) is grilled, salted salmon that is a very common dish for anytime of the day in Japan. It is often eaten for breakfast, but also a great item for Bento box for lunch and even a main dish for dinner.
Salmon you get in Japan is often a salted fillet. On the other hand, salmon available here in the US is fresh, fatty, and lighter-colored cuts more suitable for salmon steaks. If you would like to make Shiozake at home, choose salmon with red flesh and less fat. Other than finding salmon, cooking it is nothing to it. Salt the fish at least 3-4 hours, or better overnight. Grill it, and that’s it. The salted flesh has a firmer texture after losing moisture. If you are used to fresh salmon steaks, you may not be able to believe they are the same fish.
Shiozake is such a simple dish, ingredient-wise and process-wise, but somehow the flavor is quintessentially Japanese. That may be because you come across this dish so often if you live there – as mentioned above, you might have chances to eat it all day long. This salty (but not overly salty) dish is perfect with Steamed Rice. Just by themselves they make a great meal. Even for those who have never cooked Japanese food, Shiozake is very easy to make. So try it at home!
- salmon, cut into 1" thick fillets
- Sprinkle about 3/4-1tsp salt on each salmon fillet. Wrap them with paper towels and plastic. Let them sit in the refrigerator over night.
- Grill salmon on a fish grill, 3-4 minutes each side.