Shioyaki Trout with Shoyu-Beurre Noisette Beans


Nothing looked prettier on ice at the fish counter than some pale pink and silver trout fillets to accompany the new potatoes and really ripe tomato from the farmers’ market. The green beans were so fresh they really did snap!

Simply salting, then grilling fish is a good way to enjoy its delicate flavor. Salting fish before cooking removes unpleasant “fishy” juice and firms the flesh. Sea salt is best for this purpose. The quantity of salt depends on whether the fish is oily or lean, old or very fresh. A general guide is 2% of the weight of the fish: a little less than a teaspoon for a half pound fish. Place the fish on a rack so they won’t bath in their own juice. Sprinkle the fish with half the salt, turn, and sprinkle with the remainder. Let the fish stand for about 20 minutes. Allow more time for oily or thick fish. Rinse the fish in brine (1 1/2 Tablespoons salt in a quart of water). Dry the fish well. Grill or broil. Serve with grated daikon tinted with a little shoyu, lemon wedges, vinegar-pickled vegetables, or ginger.
from a previous post: Shioyaki: Salt Grilled Fish

Salt grilling, shioyaki, is usually used for whole fish such as aji (horse mackerel), iwashi (sardines), ayu (a sweet-tasting freshwater fish), sanma (pike), nishin (herring), saba (mackerel), hirame (sole), and tai (sea bream). Large fish, filleted and cut into smaller pieces include buri (yellowtail), suzuki (sea bass), kajikimaguro (swordfish), and sawara (Spanish mackerel). Extra salt is rubbed onto the fins and tail to make them extra crisp.

I prepared the two fillets as described above, lined a cookie sheet with foil, and applied a schmear of butter. Because I really dislike dry overcooked fish, I sprinkled some sake on the foil and then arranged the fish skin-side up. They broiled on high for about 7 or 8 minutes and I left them in the hot oven to keep warm and finish cooking. (an advantage of an electric stove is that it retains heat) Unfortunately I cut the fish into 6 portions before I decided to take pictures. This isn’t so much a recipe as a technique so I wasn’t planning to post about this meal, but it’s such a nice method of preparing fresh fish I changed my mind. Take my word, the fillets were beautiful with shiny skin accented with burnt caramelized edges.

The method of cooking vegetables Japanese-style is also a fine technique to have in your cooking repertoire. This works especially well for keeping green vegetable green: snow or sugar peas, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and so on. It is also useful for soy bean sprouts and cabbage or other leafy vegetable

  • Prepare the vegetable for serving. I cut my green beans into 2-inch pieces.
  • Blanch the vegetable in actively boiling water. Green vegetables will become very bright green.
  • Quickly drain in a colander and chill in ice water.
  • Now the vegetables can be served in this nearly raw state.
  • Or they can be cooked until tender in a stir-fry or by steaming or roasting without sacrificing their beautiful color.

Green Beans with Shoyu Brown-Butter

  • 3 to 4 cups blanched and chilled green beans
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (unsalted is better)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons soy sauce

For the beurre noisette (brown butter): Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Keep your eyes on the butter and your spoon stirring: as the milk solids drop to the bottom they will suddenly begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the soy sauce (careful: it will splatter!). Heat briefly.

Place the green beans in a vegetable steamer with actively boiling water. Steam to desired tenderness.
In a suitable serving bowl, toss the beans with the butter. Serve warm.

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3 thoughts on “Shioyaki Trout with Shoyu-Beurre Noisette Beans

  1. The idea of trout is exciting in itself cooked almost any way but this sounds GOOD! The salty grill technique sounds interesting. I’m dying to try it now. Just read a recipe for shiso granita which I think would go well after this dish too.
    Tell Mr Tess I loved his piece on reciting in The PF. Beautifully written! Listened to the podcast too. (-:

  2. I’ll tell Mr. Tess about your comment.

    The salt-grilling is just a technique. And trout, so many varieties of trout. Keep in mind that most fish I get here in the middle of the North American continent comes to us frozen. And the salt technique makes most fish better to eat. The various trout we get from the Northern Great Lakes, and from inland streams, they are delicate. Gentle but distinct flavor. And not so easy to find commercially.

    I’d try a shiso granita but my poor potted plants in the old broken plastic pot in this hot dry summer, they are turning yellow already. So sad.

    I went fishing in Montana with my brothers, the one and only time. And I did catch a trout. I think it was a trout? When I finally netted it and pulled it into the boat (it was some sort of reservoir) they told me to slam it against the side of the boat to kill it and put it into the basket. It was so alive and fighting that my 10 or 12 year-old self couldn’t do it. Though they cooked it, and the other fish they caught, I don’t think I could eat that evening at the campsite.

    My older harder self has learned to smash mice screaming in traps with a mallet, spiders, and bleeding chipmunks not quite killed by the cats.

    What does it mean that I do love to eat trout? Except not a great comment on a food blog…

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