Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box

Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box

Popular in Japan since the 12th century, bento boxes are fun to create and a surprising way to serve dinner. Use real bento boxes (available online) or cafeteria-style, multi-compartment plates or plastic containers. The emphasis is on a beautiful presentation and smaller portions of several different items. As an example, fill one compartment with a scoop of cooked rice topped with minced scallion, another compartment with a few pieces of store-bought California roll or sushi, wasabi paste and pickled ginger, another compartment with 2 soy-glazed pot stickers, and a fourth compartment with cut fruit such as kiwi and melon. In the main compartment, add baked salmon with teriyaki sauce. Serve soy sauce and additional teriyaki sauce on the side.

Baked Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce

4 salmon fillets

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Teriyaki sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub salmon on all sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until nearly cooked through, about 12 minutes. Spread a few spoonfuls of the teriyaki sauce on the salmon. Bake 3 additional minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

Teriyaki Sauce

Dial the sugar up or down to taste. Mirin is a sweetened sake available at most grocery stores. I sometimes add a square of fresh ginger to the saucepan, and at the very end of cooking, a drizzle of sesame oil. If you don’t have 40 minutes to wait for the sauce to reduce and thicken, cook until sugar dissolves, whisk together 1 TBS cornstarch with 2 TBS water in a small bowl, add to sauce, whisk while bringing to a boil. Remove from heat when sauce thickens.

1 cup mirin

1 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

In a large saucepan, bring ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, over low heat, 40 minutes or until sauce reduces slightly and thickens.

Gary: Salmon is a classic pairing with fine Chardonnay/White Burgundy. Look for wines with moderate oak and good acidity to handle the salt and pungency of the teriyaki sauce. Acidity helps to mellow out the salt levels in entrées. A red wine such as Pinot Noir, Gamay or Cabernet Franc/Chinon would be a choice that could work very well. With the salt and the richness of the salmon, a fine French Champagne or Champagne-method quality sparkler with acidity and creamy texture would pair quite nicely.

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