The word teriyaki has become synonymous with Japanese-style cooking on restaurant menus throughout America. The word is often tagged to chicken or steak that’s served with some sort of soy sauce gravy. In fact, teri means “to shine” and yaki means “to sear with heat.” True teriyaki foods are grilled or broiled, then sealed with a shiny soy glaze to keep in the juices of the cooking fish or meat. The succulent salmon steaks here are a fine example of teriyaki cooking at its best.
In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, syrupy rice wine, and sugar. Cooking over low heat and, stirring constantly, wait until the sugar is totally dissolved before adding the ginger juice. Continue to simmer the sauce—it will become quite foamy—stirring occasionally for 3–4 more minutes. This glaze can be made a week or so in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
Preheat your broiler or, if you’re cooking outside, make sure that your coals are fairly hot before you begin to grill over them. Salt the salmon steaks lightly on all surfaces. If you’re broiling the fish at home, I highly recommend the use of disposable foil pans; if you’re grilling out of doors, have a broad metal spatula ready to help flip the fish.
Broil or grill the fish for 2–3 minutes, then turn it over and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. (If you’re using a side of salmon, place the skin side near the source of heat first.) Brush the flesh with the glazing sauce and grill or broil for 1–2 minutes. Turn the fish over with the help of a broad metal spatula and brush the skin or other side of flesh with the glazing sauce. Broil or grill for 1–2 minutes. Do a final painting of the flesh with the glazing sauce and complete the cooking with another minute of exposure to high heat. Serve hot or at room temperature, with a few drops of additional sauce dribbled on the salmon, if you like.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.