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Mirin-glazed Salmon

This must be the fastest possible way to create a culinary sensation. You do scarcely a thing — just dip some salmon steaks in a dark glossy potion, most of which you get out of jars — and what you make tastes as if you had been dedicating half your life to achieving the perfect combination of sweet, savory, tender, and crisp.

If there are only two of you eating, I would be inclined to stick to quantities, letting a couple of pieces or whatever you don't eat cool, as it makes a fantastic salad the next day.

My favorite accompaniment here is sushi rice, and since I am wedded to my rice cooker, this is no work and needs no skill whatsoever. Just cook rice of your choice — or noodles if you prefer — according to instructions on the package if you are cruelly ricecookerless.

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 4-oz pieces of salmon, cut from the thick part of the fillet so that they are narrow but tall rather than wide and flat
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1–2 scallions, halved and shredded into fine strips

1. Mix the mirin, sugar, and soy in a shallow dish that will hold all 4 pieces of salmon, and marinate the salmon in it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on the stove.

2. Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn it over, add the marinade, and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Remove the salmon to whatever plate you're serving it on, and add the rice vinegar to the hot pan.

4. Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the scallion strips. Serve with rice or noodles as you wish, and consider putting some sushi ginger on the table, too.

Serves 4

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Nigella Lawson