Miso Salmon ~ MISS HAPPINESS AND MISS FLOWER, by Rumer Godden

As a very young reader I loved anything by the late, great Rumer Godden, and especially Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, which tells the story of two homesick Japanese dolls and one homesick little girl. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, as are so many of Godden’s novels, is a story of making oneself at home in a strange place. The human girl has traveled from India to live with relatives in Britain; the dolls from San Francisco to the same British household. None have any say in the matter. As Godden writes, children and dolls are not asked.

The girl, Nona, throws herself into outfitting a traditional Japanese home for the dolls, and in this way comes to terms with her own situation, assimilating along with Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Dolls don’t eat, but if they did Nona would have done well to make them this wonderful and very simple miso-glazed salmon.

I am almost certain this recipe came from a 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. An internet search brings up a Miso-Marinated Salmon recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but it is slightly different (it uses mirin as well as sake) and it was printed in November/December 2015. Here is the link to this more recent recipe: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/8572-miso-marinated-salmon?extcode=NSPNK21ZZ. And here is the older one, below.

1/4 cup white miso; 2 tablespoons sugar; 2 tablespoons sake; 1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger; 2 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick; nonstick cooking spray (we never have this so I just smear the foil with a little neutral oil such as canola)

Whisk the miso, sugar, sake, and ginger together in a bowl to dissolve the sugar and miso (the mixture will be quite thick). Use a sharp knife to make 3 or 4 shallow slashes about 1 inch apart along the skin side of each salmon fillet (be careful not to cut into the flesh). Lay the fillets in a large zipper-lock bag and pour the marinade in too. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 5-24 hours, flipping the bag occasionally. Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element. Heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and smear with a neutral oil, or use nonstick cooking spray! Remove the fillets from the marinade and lay skin side down on the foil. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the marinade over each fillet and smooth into an even layer. Discard the remaining marinade. Broil the fillets until the flesh is opaque and flakes apart when gently prodded with a knife, 6-9 minutes. Serve with buckwheat noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, sugar snap peas, or a green salad.