This trick will make any salmon better: grilled, roasted, pan-seared, broiled. In fact, it will make just about anything you want to eat better: meatballs, pasta sauces, popcorn—even ice cream—all with the same Microplane you use to grate cheese and lemon zest, and the umami-packed dried mushrooms that will keep almost-forever in your pantry. No pre-soaking the mushrooms, no pulling out (or cleaning) the spice grinder, just grating as casually as you’d sprinkle salt. Here, we’re using Marc’s trick on Sally Schneider’s Genius Slow-Roasted Salmon, with an extra tip for crisping the salmon skin from Food52 community member Lune, but feel free to use it far and wide.
This one-ingredient umami magic has been sitting on Marc Matsumoto's blog No Recipes since the early aughts. After briefly considering the umami superpowers of MSG, Marc wrote, "I started thinking of other ingredients that are filled with umami enhancing glutamates. I remembered a few recent successes using shiitake powder in chicken sausage as well as a ragù and wondered what it would taste like encrusted on the salmon. Problem solved!”
A few more tips: Unless you try Marc’s trick on mildly flavored fish like sea bream or cod, you may not notice a mushroomy flavor—but the fish will taste emphatically, if somewhat mysteriously, more delicious. (If you’re curious, try sprinkling the mushroom on only half and taste the difference for yourself.)
Adapted from Marc Matsumoto’s No Recipes blog and Sally Schneider’s Slow-Roasted Salmon from A New Way to Cook (Artisan, 2003).
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Hear more about how this recipe came together, from Marc himself, on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes. —Genius Recipes
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 35 minutes
- Serves 4
1 1/2 pounds
thick salmon fillet, or other fish like striped bass or cod (1 large fillet or four 6-ounce fillets)
extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2
large dried shiitake mushrooms
- Heat the oven to 275°F. Place the salmon fillet(s) on a sheet pan. Rub the salmon all over with the oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Use a Microplane to finely grate the dried shiitake generously onto both sides of the salmon—it should look like a thick, fluffy blanket all over the fish. Arrange the fillet(s) on the pan skin side-down, with an inch or two between each fillet.
- Roast until a fork inserted in the thickest part of the salmon meets no resistance, the flesh separates easily from the skin, and is just beginning to flake when you poke into it, 10 to 35 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 120°F. (Don't worry if the top of the fish has a slightly transparent look; this is the result of the low roasting temperature.) Remove the fish from the oven.
- Optional, but recommended: Switch the oven to broil on high. With a spatula, slide the salmon off the skin and transfer the salmon to a plate. Place the pan with the skin on a rack about 5 inches under the heating element and broil until the skin blisters and turns golden brown in spots, 1 to 2 minutes, depending on your broiler (watch carefully as it can burn quickly).
- Serve warm, room temperature, or cold, tearing or crumbling the crispy salmon skin over the top.