Sesame salmon served with a cold rice noodle salad. Crunchy cabbage and carrots tossed in a delicious honey lime dressing. A light, healthy meal loaded with lean fish protein and exotic Asian flavors.
Sesame salmon is a new favorite healthy meal at the Gavin House. I’ve started up a tradition to make Monday nights all about salmon, so I am always looking for new recipes to mix things up each week. Why? It’s fast, healthy and versatile.
To make this a quick meal, I use a high-temperature oven broiling method to cook the fish in minutes and give it a nice crust. The Asian-inspired flavors come together for this sesame salmon recipe by serving it with a crunchy rice noodle salad that will leave you asking for more.
How to broil salmon
I love making my broiled molasses salmon recipe, I know it by heart and can probably make it blindfolded. To switch it up, I’ve added some savory Asian ingredients with fresh flavors. Using the simple broiling technique of dry heat cooking, salmon can be prepared in endless recipe options.
- What is Broiling?: Broiling is a dry-heat cooking method that uses radiant heat from an overhead source. The oven contains heat that can get up to temperatures as high as 2000°F! This enables you to cook foods very quickly and often used for browning the tops of foods. I like cooking salmon this way because the fish muscle fibers are very delicate and cook very quickly, yet still stay moist and flaky.
- Preparing Salmon for Broiling: The most efficient way to broil salmon is to cut them into individual filets, about 4 to 6 ounces in size so that the heat has more surface area to cook the sides, and top at the same time. It’s up to you if you want to keep the skin on or remove the skin during boiling. I’ve found that sometimes it’s easier to cook with the salmon skin on to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Always broil on a foil lined sheet pan that has been greased to prevent sticking and easy cleanup.
- Cook Time: Typically I would recommend broiling the salmon about 6 to 7 inches away from the heat source, however since I don’t want the seeds to burn on the sesame salmon, it’s cooked in the lower middle of the oven. Keep a careful eye as you get closer to the end of cooking because the high accumulated heat can overcook the fish if not monitored. Salmon is ready when just opaque in the center and the flesh easily separates. How long to broil salmon depends on the size and thickness of the fish, about 15 minutes per pound (thicker pieces may also need longer cook time). The time it takes to prepare these filets are 8 to 10 minutes since the pieces are cut into smaller portions.
To build layers of flavor on the salmon, the I drizzle with a honey lime glaze before broiling. This also helps the white and black sesame seeds stick to the fish for extra flavor and crunchy texture!
The secret star of this dish are those beautiful white sesame seeds that are usually added as a garnish. Nope, not this time! The sesame seeds are toasted to bring out the rich aromatics from the essential oils in the seeds. The sesame seeds are finely puréed with soy sauce, lime juice, honey and olive oil into a savory and pungent dressing for the noodle salad. This way you get the wonderful sesame seed flavor infused throughout each bite.
This cold salad is a crunchy fiesta for your mouth! I used thin Maifun rice noodles for this recipe to keep it on the lighter side. It’s all about bright colors, cooling vegetables and wonderful fresh crunch with each spoonful. Thanks to the triple C trifecta; cucumbers, carrots, and cabbage this combo is a texture champ! The rice noodles provide a light heartiness to the dish, but it’s there to soak up all of the yummy sesame dressing.
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
What is the difference between broiling and baking?
The fundamental difference in broiling food versus baking is the time it takes to cook and texture of the fish. They are both dry-heat cooking methods. Broiling uses very hot radiant heat from a source above the food which can maintain temperatures of around 550°F. Cooking the salmon pieces in under 10 minutes with more of a caramelized crust if glazed, or spiced crust if using a dry blend. Baking temperatures can range between 170°F to 500°F depending on your settings, which surrounds the food through convection cooking and takes longer for the fish to cook to the interior by conduction, almost double the amount of time depending on the thickness of the fish.
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds , toasted
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons lime juice , freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ounces rice noodles , Maifun (1 package)
- 1 cup cucumbers , thinly sliced, seeds removed, 4-inch long slices or spiralized
- 1 cup carrots , thinly sliced or spiralized
- 1 cup red cabbage , thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cilantro , roughly chopped
- 2 green onions , stalks thinly sliced on a bias for garnish
- kosher salt , as needed
- black pepper , freshly cracked, as needed
- 24 ounces salmon fillets , (four 6-oz pieces) skin removed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 teaspoons sesame seeds , for topping (2 tsp black and 2 tsp white seeds)
- Toast sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat, until light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Blend the toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, lime juice, honey and olive oil together until thick and creamy, about 1 minute on high setting.
- Pour into a small container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a medium-sized pot, boil noodles uncovered for about 3 minutes, or until tender. Do not over cook. Noodles may become too soft and mushy.
- Drain immediately and transfer noodles to a colander.
- Rinse noodles with cool water for a few seconds and allow excess water to drain.
- In a large bowl, toss together the sliced cucumbers, carrot, red cabbage and cilantro.
- Add 2 cups of the cooked noodles to the bowl, and gently toss to combine. Set aside while you prepare the salmon.
- Set oven to “broil” and allow to heat while you prepare the salmon.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey and lime juice together. Set aside.
- Place the salmon fillets on a large foil-lined baking sheet lightly coated with oil to prevent sticking, and sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the honey lime sauce over each piece of salmon.
- Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, or enough to cover the top of each fillet.
- Cook in the preheated oven on the lower middle shelf, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked, the flesh is flaky but not dry, and the sesame seeds are lightly toasted.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To Serve: Remove the sesame dressing from the refrigerator and stir to combine if needed. Add to the rice noodle mixture and toss until evenly coated. Place equal portions of the rice noodle salad in the center of 4 plates. Top noodle salad with a piece of salmon and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!
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