Shiojake; or 15 hours is too many hours

Shiojake/Shiozake (shio-salt, jake/zake-salmon) is a common Japanese preparation of Salmon. You’ll find it in: a filled onigiri, a bento, rice porridge, and a traditional Japanese breakfast w/ miso, picked veggies (Tsukemono) and warm rice.

Chef Morimoto puts the fillets in a mixture sake and salt before doing anything else. I’m not sure if this removes the fishy taste but if he does it, we probably should too.

What I like about this dish is it’s versatility. It’s almost as if the Salmon is pre seasoned so it works well literally anywhere you would need some extra salt. I originally made it to use in a traditional Japanese breakfast but I later discovered is goes great in soups, omelettes and in Ozuchake (which I’ll be making next.)

Makes four 4 fillets

4 skin on, center cut, salmon (You want a less fatty fish so I used Coho Salmon. You could also use King Salmon) fillets totaling about 1.5 lbs

4 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sake

Mix sake and 1/2 tsp salt until the salt dissolves. Add the fillets one by one to the mixture and let each soak for 5-10 minutes. Remove and pat dry

Salt both sides of Salmon paying extra attention to the skin and and wrap in a few layers of cheesecloth before placing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Let rest in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to three days. The longer you let it rest the saltier it’ll be.

I experimented and took them out after 5, 12, and 15 hours. 12 seems to be the sweet spot, at 5 they were salty but not as good as I’ve had at restaurants. 15 hours was way too salty. I literally had to drink a gallon of water after eating them. It all depends on the cut of your fish (how fatty it is) and the type of salt you’re using. I used Maldon sea salt but you can use anything you have on hand.

You can either wrap the fillets individually in plastic wrap & a freezer bag and freeze for 1-2 months or bake, pan fry, or broil.

I cooked with ghee in a cast iron pan and served with Japanese picked vegetables, my classic miso soup and short grain white rice. I also added a bit of White Shoyu (soy sauce) on the side for added seasoning. It’s not traditional and totally optional.

Join me next time when I make Ochazuke/Chazuke, dish made with rice and warm dashi or tea. What’s your favorite cold weather food?