Miso-Caramel Salmon with Bok Choy
Savory caramel is a thing and Miso-Caramel Salmon with Bok Choy proves that! This one-and-done sheet pan meal is easy prep and easy clean-up. The caramel comes together quickly and incorporates a surprise ingredient: miso.
You’ve probably had miso soup at a sushi place at some point in your dining-out life. The salty-sweet, slightly funky broth usually contains miso, dashi, tofu, seaweed, and green onion. It’s a simple but tasty soup.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste originating in Japan and it comes in many varieties including white, yellow, and red. White miso is the mildest and red is the most pungent. The salty, slightly sweet, and savory flavor makes it a popular ingredient in dips, marinades, salad dressings, sauces, and soups.
So what’s it doing in this caramel? In a previous post, we talked about the role salt plays in making sweet things taste better, and that’s what it is doing here. It is a version of salted caramel, with miso being the bringer of salt.
Miso-caramel is delicious in desserts, of course, and I may have had a spoonful or two straight out of the jar. But its sweet-saltiness is an excellent addition to chicken, fish, and vegetable dishes. Brushed over salmon, it shines.
Plus, bok choy!
Growing up, I ate bok choy on a semi-regular basis. My Korean mom used it in her kimchi and stir-fries. It is a type of mild Chinese cabbage that has a crunchy white base and tender green leaves.
Bok choy is eaten raw or cooked. And it cooks fast when incorporated in soups or sauteed in a pan. Thrown on a baking sheet and roasted, it is done in less than 15 minutes.
Baby bok choy is what I used in this recipe. What makes them babies? They do not reach full maturity before picking. So the heads and leaves are milder and more tender than the full-size ones.
- The miso-caramel can be dairy-free (hooray!) by using coconut cream. It also can be made a day or two ahead and kept in the fridge. Try not to eat all of it with a spoon before making the salmon.
- An important step is to set the sheet pan in the oven while the oven preheats. You want the pan to be hot when you place the salmon on it. This ensures the fish and veggies cook evenly.
- A nice side dish here would be steamed white or brown rice. And homemade kimchi!
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup heavy cream or coconut cream
- 2 Tbsp white miso
- 1 lb. (about 4 fillets) salmon
- 2 or 3 baby bok choy heads
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Garnish: sliced green onions
- Make the miso caramel by stirring the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil without stirring. Let it cook until the mixture reaches a golden brown color, like the color of amber jewelry. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream. Stir together until it is uniform in color. Add the miso and stir until it is combined.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F/218 C. Place a lightly-greased, rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.
- Divide the salmon into fillets if it is not already. Slice the bok choy into halves and set aside.
- Once the oven is ready, remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and immediately add the bok choy, cut side down. Next, add the salmon, skin side down. Everything should be in a single layer. Drizzle several spoonfuls of miso caramel over the salmon (you will have caramel left over to enjoy with something else).
- Top the salmon evenly with garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until the salmon is cooked. Don’t overcook the salmon, please. Garnish with green onions and serve.
Keywords: miso-caramel salmon with bok choy