Rush-Hour Gourmet

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Mirin makes a glossy glaze for salmon.

Mirin is a sweet, syrupy wine made from rice. It's particularly fine with grilled foods. When brushed over the hot food, the mirin becomes a glossy glaze; think of those skewers of chicken yakitori you get at the local Japanese restaurant.

Mirin is low in alcohol and meant for cooking, not drinking. Here, its mild, honeyed flavor enhances the salmon's richness while melding well with the salt of the soy and fish sauces. The sweetness also plays up the smoky char of the grill pan. If you want a saltier but still slightly sweet flavor, use teriyaki sauce instead of mirin. Just cut back on the soy sauce.

Mirin-Glazed Salmon

Makes 2 servings

2 salmon fillets or steaks, about 7 ounces each (or substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts or even New York strip steaks)

1 tablespoon each: soy sauce, Thai fish sauce (See Note)

2 teaspoons minced lemon zest, minced

1/4 cup mirin (see Note)

1. Brush the salmon with soy and fish sauces. Top with lemon zest. Marinate 7 minutes; turn fish. Marinate 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over high heat. (Broil if you don't have a stovetop grill pan. This dish can also be made on a charcoal or gas grill.)

3. Place fish on grill; brush with 1 tablespoon of the mirin. Grill 3 minutes; turn fish. Brush fish with 1 tablespoon of the mirin. Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes, depending on thickness.

4. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons of the mirin on the salmon before serving.

Note: You can find mirin, fish sauce and soy sauce at Asian and specialty food markets and, increasingly, in supermarkets.

Per serving: 370 calories, 46 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 1,452 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber