Me So Crazy for Misoyaki Salmon

Hmmm….. Now, where was I going with this? Oh yes, Roy’s Misoyaki Butterfish. Misoyaki translates literally as "grilled miso" but refers to the practice of marinating meats, fish or tofu with a light, salty-sweet miso-based mixture before grilling, broiling or pan-frying them. Anyway, this dish is prepared by marinating the fish for up to a couple of days in sake (Japanese rice wine), mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), sugar and white “Shiro” miso paste (a thick, salty paste made from fermented soybeans). Then, it is seared until cooked through producing a golden, caramelized crust on the outside and sweet, buttery flavor and delicate flaky texture on the inside. This fish justs melts in your mouth – like buttah!


Since I truly love this dish and can’t afford to eat at Roy’s every night, I decided to try and replicate it at home. I was surprised to find several recipes online allegedly for Roy’s version. I also found many other recipes on the web for Misoyaki Butterfish and Black Cod. Never one to leave a good recipe alone, I took a little from one, some from another, threw in a few tweaks of my own and and came up with my own version.

Instead of butterfish, which is impossible to find around here, I used some beautiful wild salmon. Since salmon is also an oily fish, I felt it would translate well to the recipe. You could also use sea bass, halibut or Atlantic cod in this recipe with great results. I also added some fresh orange juice to the marinade, thinking that the sugar in the juice would help give the salmon even more caramelization. Another tweak I made to the marinade was to add a tablespoon of red “Aka” miso paste too. Red miso has a deeper and saltier flavor than its white counterpart, which I thought would be a nice contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients.

After mixing up my miso marinade, I let the salmon swim in it for 24 hours. Even though, some recipes advocate letting it sit for up to three days, I wasn’t comfortable with keeping fresh fish in the fridge that long.

After I seared the fish in a hot cast iron skillet, I finished it off in the oven for a few minutes until just cooked through.

Let me tell you, this dish was To. Die. For.! It was seriously the best salmon I’ve ever made. I have to say that my Misoyaki Salmon could definitely give Roy’s butterfish a run for its money. And the best part is that I can have it anytime I want. And now, so can you!


Misoyaki Samon (Inspired by Roy Yamaguchi and several others)

Note:  Both mirin and miso paste can be found at Publix and Whole Foods, as well as Asian markets.


4-6 fresh wild salmon fillets (about 1-1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup sake

1 cup mirin

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups white “Shiro” miso paste

2 tablespoons red “Aka” miso paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon cooking oil


1. To make the marinade, combine mirin, sake, orange juice and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off.

2. Remove from heat and whisk in soy sauce, white and red miso paste until until mixture is creamy. Set aside to cool.

3. When marinade is cooled, pour it into a big zip-lock bag with the salmon and seal. Gently massage the marinade into the salmon, coating the fish well. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 days.

4. When ready to cook the fish, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Take fillets out of the plastic bag and wipe off the marinade. Pat fish dry.

6. Heat oil in a large fry pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sear salmon fillets 2-3 minutes on each side, until they start to caramelize. Remove the pan to the oven and bake until fish is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.


Still hungry?  Come visit me at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

We all dine out at restaurants from time to time, some more than others. Although, I love to cook, I also really enjoy not having to do it all the time, especially on weekends or special occasions. The problem I run into is, that so many times the food just isn’t that good. I really resent it when I’ve paid twenty or thirty dollars for a meal at a “fine dining” establishment that I could have made better and cheaper for myself at home - especially in these harsh economic times!

On the other hand, every so often I find a restaurant that really does live up to its hype, and I’m pleasantly surprised. One here in town that I really enjoy is Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion. even though it's a chain restaurant (and I usually hate chains), I have found the quality of food and service there to be quite good. It’s a little too pricey to be a weekly hangout of mine, but it is definitely one of my top choices for special occasions.

One of my favorite items on Roy’s menu is their Misoyaki Butterfish. What exactly is butterfish? Actually, I’m not sure. My research on the subject yielded conflicting results. Some sources say that butterfish are small, bony fish weighing just over a pound, with thin, deep bodies similar to flounder. Others profess them to be in the pompano family. Still others say that butterfish are a fish called black cod, which is actually not even a codfish at all. To confuse the issue further, there are those who say that butterfish/black cod are actually a type of sablefish, which has a high oil and fat content. Is your head spinning yet? Most do agree, however, that these sablefish are probably called butterfish because of all that oil and fat they have.

Scroll to read more Food News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]