Osaka Grilled Salmon Steaks

1 whole salmon (7-8 pounds)

7 ounces soy sauce
6 ounces mirin
3 tbs. miso paste
2 tbs. brown sugar
4 tsp. fresh rubbed ginger pulp
1 tbs. toasted (brown) sesame oil
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
10 grams dried shaved bonito flakes
1 large garlic clove
1 ½  tsp. ground cardamom
½  tsp. ground santaka chiles (or cayenne)

Miso paste, mirin, dried bonito, sesame oil and santaka chilis can be found at a Japanese grocery store. Put all marinade ingredients in a blender and blend well. Cut salmon into 1½ inch thick steaks, place in a sealable container, cover with marinade and store in the refrigerator for 4 hours, turning steaks once every hour.

Place salmon in a grilling basket and grill for 90 seconds per side over a blazing wood fire (e.g. hickory, cherry or apple) so that skin will be crispy and outside slightly charred. Baste with marinade immediately after each turning. Then bake at 190º F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the center of the steak is done medium (you can cut a slice with a knife to test). Cut scallions into 3 inch pieces and then mince scallions lengthwise into fine shreds. Sprinkle sparingly over the salmon steaks and serve immediately.

Serves eight.

Preparation time: one-half hour. Total time from start to finish: five hours.

My love of Japanese cuisine and my fondness for salmon led me to develop this recipe which marries the two over my favorite cooking medium, wood fired grilling. I began experimenting with teriyaki variations, having always thought that miso is underused as a marinade ingredient. Eventually this recipe evolved into its current state after many trials and a few errors.

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