February 23, 2022

Grilled Crisp-Skinned Salmon with Gochujang Marinade



  • ½ cup gochujang*
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp each minced garlic and green part of green onion
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, plus more for topping


  • 1 2-lb. wild sockeye salmon fillet, skin on, pin bones removed*
  • Canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


    Having Access to Wild Salmon Makes This recipe Extra Special!

    This recipe, flavored with the mellow Korean red-chile paste called gochujang, gives the salmon an alluring spicy-sweet depth. Serve it as an entire glorious fillet, with rice, lettuce, cilantro, and a crunchy topping like bean sprouts or cucumbers, so people can make their own Korean-style lettuce wraps.

    A day or two before, make the marinade: Mix ingredients in a bowl and chill.

    1) About 1 1/2 hours before dinner, deputize a guest to prep rice, lettuce, and cilantro while you pour half the marinade into a pan large enough for salmon. Pat fish dry and set, flesh side down, in marinade. Chill 45 minutes.

    2) Heat a grill to medium-high (450°) with an area cleared (for charcoal) or a burner turned off (for gas) to make an indirect-heat area. Fold a large sheet of heavy-duty foil in half. With a knife, poke dime-size holes in foil 2 in. apart. Oil one side of foil. Brush salmon skin with oil.

    3) Set foil on grill over direct heat, oiled side up; heat 2 minutes. Place salmon, skin-side down, on foil. Cook, covered, until skin is light brown and sizzling, 5 to 6 minutes. With tongs, slide salmon on foil to indirect-heat area and cook, covered, until all but top 1/4 in. is cooked, 3 to 8 minutes. Slide back to direct heat and cook until skin is well-browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer salmon on foil to a rimless baking sheet.

    4) With the help of your deputy cook, slide a large metal spatula between foil and salmon skin to free skin. Carefully slide salmon from foil to a platter. Season with salt, drizzle with some remaining gochujang marinade, and scatter sesame seeds on top.

    5) Together, serve it forth: Set the salmon on the table with rice, lettuce, cilantro, remaining gochujang sauce, and Fresh Bean Sprout Banchan.

    Serve With
    Steamed jasmine rice
    Butter lettuce leaves
    Cilantro leaves
    Fresh Bean-Sprout Banchan

    *Find gochujang at well-stocked grocery stores and Asian markets. Use tweezers to pull out each salmon pin bone in same direction the bone is slanting.

    Recipe and Photo Credit: Sunset Magazine

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