Baked Asian Salmon is easy but elevated, thanks to a simple but super-flavorful marinade. And it’s one of my very, very favorite ways to enjoy salmon!
Right off the bat, I’ll confess that this recipe is Asian-inspired, but it’s mostly dad-inspired. In other words, it’s my version of the Asian-ish salmon recipe my dad makes almost every time my husband and I visit because he knows how much we love it. And while it starts with classic ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, it adds some not-so-classic ingredients, like olive oil and lots of whatever fresh herbs are in the garden.
Herbs and Asian are sort of an unusual combination. But—it’s unusually good.
Making The Marinade
If you can push a button on a food processor, you can make this marinade. Because it’s as simple as a few pulses to chop up ginger, garlic, herbs, and a little pepper, then another few pulses to combine that delicious mixture with soy sauce, olive oil, and maple syrup.
Which herbs should you use? Stick to heartier ones that can stand up to cooking, like rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, and marjoram. More delicate ones, like basil, cilantro, and parsley, will lose most of their freshness and flavor in a hot oven (but you could certainly add them after cooking).
The resulting marinade will be more than you need for four salmon fillets. But that’s a good thing because it means you can use some for marinating and still have plenty left over for drizzling at the table. It’s great on the salmon, of course, but also on rice, steamed veggies, sliced tomatoes, or a simple green salad served alongside.
Cooking And Serving
When dad makes this recipe, he usually does a whole side of salmon—so we can enjoy leftovers for days—and cooks it on the grill. But turning a side of salmon on the grill can be challenging, so I prefer to do fillets and either grill or bake them. The recipe below is for baking, but there’s a note at end with instructions for grilling should you prefer that.
(And if you want to know how to bake a side of salmon, see this post.)
Because marinating takes a little foresight, I tend to serve Asian Marinated Salmon on weekends—it’s just as at home at a snazzy dinner party as at a more casual gathering. But if you remember to marinate, it’s quick-cooking enough for weeknights too.
It being my dad’s specialty, I know I’m not exactly an impartial judge of this recipe. But if you like it even half as much as I do, you’ll love it. 🙂Print
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh herbs*, plus more for (optional) garnish
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 (2-in.) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 4 (5-6 oz.) salmon fillets, about 3/4-in. thick, with or without skin
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the herbs, ginger, garlic, and pepper and process to chop.
- Add the soy sauce, oil, and maple syrup and process to make a marinade.
- Transfer about half of the marinade to a resealable bag and add the salmon. Set aside in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Meanwhile, brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Remove the salmon from the marinade and arrange it on the baking sheet, skin (if any) side up for crispy skin.
- Bake** until the salmon is barely opaque throughout, 13 to 15 minutes.
- Arrange the salmon on plates or a platter, drizzle with some of the remaining marinade, and garnish with herbs, if using. Serve any remaining marinade at the table.
*You can use rosemary, sage, oregano, or marjoram leaves, tender thyme sprigs, or a combination.
**If you prefer to grill your salmon, cook it on a lightly oiled grill over direct, medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side.