Hoisin-Glazed Salmon with Plum-Ginger Relish (Plus, Sesame Wonton Chips!)

by Megg

Alright, here it is: the recipe to that tasty-lookin’ hoisin salmon that showed up in my bento last week.  Since I posted it, my fellow Flickr bento-ers have been asking about the recipe.  Read on for recipes for the salmon, the relish, AND the wonton chips I made with it.  But first, a little bit about fish and seafood…
People seem to have strong opinions about seafood.  In my pre-vegetarian days, I don’t remember being particularly fond of it, although I don’t remember having tried a wide variety of seafood either.  I spent probably 10 years of my life as a vegetarian; the longest and most recent span ended a few years ago.  I actually broke that span with a shrimp dish, although that was strictly incidental.  For the record, I broke my vegetarianism because I started craving meat for the first time in many, many years, and since I have a lot of health problems, I assumed my body was telling something.  I do, in fact, feel a lot better since I’ve been eating meat again, and I very much appreciate my time(s) as a vegetarian, as it’s given me a deep respect and awareness of what I’m eating, especially when eating meat.  But back to the seafood… Since regaining my omnivore status, I’ve really come to love seafood, and I especially enjoy fish.
A few months ago, I learned that the Midwest was once known as the “goiter belt” for it’s high instances of thyroid conditions.  Although this term dates back to the early 20th century, it’s still relevant due to the fact that there’s far less fish in our diet around here.  Although we have the Great Lakes, seafood is not nearly as readily available as it is to coastal states.  Goiters are result of iodine deficiency, and now-a-days it’s far rarer due to iodized salt.  Still, I know quite a few people in this area with thyroid problems, and it really made me take notice.  Plus, I’m sure many of you have heard of the benefits found in the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish (here’s a nice article on the Mayo Clinic website about it).  Knowing this made it all that more important to me to incorporate more fish and seafood into my diet.

To get to the point, though, I like fish a lot (and I want to get more into my diet anyway), and the other day I was craving salmon.  One of my favorite recipe sites to scour is Epicurious, and since I’m rather fond of Asian food, I used that as a search term.  I ended up finding this little gem, and adapted it for two people.  It’s exotic, full of flavor, and looks great to boot!

Grilled Hoisin-Glazed Salmon with Plum-Ginger Relish
—adapted from Epicurious
Serves 2
  • 2 ripe plums, peeled, pitted, and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/8 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 salmon fillets with skin (preferably wild), about 8-oz each
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (or less) hoisin sauce
  • 2 scallions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

1. First make the relish: combine the plums, ginger, and rice vinegar in a small bowl and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight.  It is really important to give the relish time to sit so that the flavors can meld!  This way, the ginger won’t be overpowering.

2. Prepare your grill: If using a gas grill like me, preheat the burners on high with the lid closed, then turn down to medium high when you’re ready to cook.  Make sure the grates are cleaned and oiled.  For a charcoal grill, open the bottom vents and light the charcoal until the fire is medium-hot.

3. Place the salmon fillets on a plate.  Rub the olive oil into the fillets and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  When the grill is prepped and hot, place the fillets, skin side down, over direct heat.  Grill the first side for about 6 minutes, then brush on a thick layer of hoisin sauce (I suggest letting the sauce sit at room temperature for 10 minutes prior so it’s easier to brush).  Gently flip the fillets (when I did this, the skin had crisped and actually separated from the fillet, so I kept the skin down and laid the other side of the fillet on top of it) . Brush the second side with hoisin sauce as well.  Grill for another 6 minutes, or until the fillet is just cooked through.  Transfer to a clean plate.

4.  When plating, brush on a bit more hoisin sauce and sprinkle the fillets with sesame seeds and scallions.  Serve with the plum-ginger relish on the side or if you prefer, spooned over the top of the fillet.

But wait, there’s more!  When I was searching for salmon recipes, another recipe caught my eye as well.  It was for an appetizer using smoked salmon, but the sesame wonton chips it was served on was what piqued my interest.  They’re simple to make, baked instead of fried, and went wonderfully with the salmon dish.  I could not get enough of them; they’re a great snack just on their own!

Sesame Wonton Chips
—adapted from Epicurious
Makes 32 chips

  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Whisk together the 1/4 cup oil and the egg white in a small bowl until  blended.  Lay out the wonton wrappers; brush the top side of each wrapper with the egg mixture and sprinkle half of the sesame seeds over them.  Fold the wrappers in half, then brush both sides with the egg mixture and sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Cut each in half, forming little triangles.


2. Arrange the triangles on 2 ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.  Cool slightly before serving.  Enjoy these bad boys with some wasabi paste… you won’t be disappointed!

To complete the meal I steamed up some sugar snap peas for about 3 minutes, then tossed ’em in sesame oil with a little salt and pepper.  And, of course, I served the salmon over rice.  The combination of the salty-sweet hoisin, the meaty salmon, the spicy-tart relish and the nutty sesame oil was really a hit.  It also made a fantastic bento (like I mentioned, the bento photo got a lot of attention, and I had to promise to get the recipe on my blog quick!).  ^_^

7-23-10 Hoisin-Glazed Salmon with Plum-Ginger Relish

So there you go: a delicious reason to incorporate more fish into your diet!  And if nothing else, try those chips… I know I’ll be making  them again very soon!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07274643327433693042 tofugirl

    Yum! Thanks for posting the recipe so quickly (haha, bentoers are a demanding bunch aren't we ;)) I don't have a grill but I am guessing this won't be hard to do just in a regular old skillet! I might try the plum-ginger relish over some pork too….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03608484496354584828 Bentobird

    Excited to try this one, Megg! Thanks so much for sharing this special recipe…perfect flavor combos and we love seafood…nom!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17219875290791522802 Megg

    Thanks you guys! I had you in mind for this post. ^_^

    And Carol, I bet it would be fine in a skillet.. especially a cast iron one. I have this cast iron grill pan that is awesome for fish as well.

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