Recently, celebrity chef and Momofuku founder David Chang shared a simple weeknight salmon recipe with his TikTok followers. For the most part, it seemed pretty straightforward – it’s hard to find fault with a piece of flaky salmon drizzled with a sweet and savory sauce. But the one detail that surprised people was how Chang prepared it: in your microwave.
In the video’s caption, Chang calls the “Chef Mike” method (also known as microwaving) a “delicious way to cook,” adding that it’s especially helpful when you’re short on time. “I have very little time to put dinner on the table for my kids,” she adds, so microwaved salmon seems like an option in her house when she needs a satisfying five-minute meal.
Considering David Chang’s prominent position within the food world, there honestly weren’t many opposing commentators. Some people were concerned about the potential smell of microwaving a piece of raw fish, but Chang himself confirmed that “there was no smell.”
Others saw his microwave from the space age, I mean, the thing opens automatically, folks, and assumed the cooking method would only work with his fancy microwave. But he was also able to put those worries to rest.
Most people were happy to see such a well-known chef like Chang sharing such a simple and time-conscious recipe like this. Recipes for real, busy people! What a concept!
And I personally was quite surprised to see a current chef promoting the microwave method after I wrote (and tried!) Stephen King’s microwaveable salmon recipe earlier this year, for which the internet completely tore it apart.
While King’s “recipe” didn’t exactly sell the method as well as Chang did, I was still totally obsessed when I tried it for myself…and honestly, I’ve done it several times since. So I was very curious to compare Chang’s slightly different recipe and preparation to that of the King of Horror.
To start, I grabbed the ingredients. Per Chang’s instructions, the only ingredients you’ll need are a salmon fillet, some soy sauce (or tamari), seasoned salt, and agave nectar.
STEP #1: I placed the salmon in a microwave safe glass food storage container. This is where Chang’s recipe Really differs from King’s – the latter requires the salmon to be placed on a plate and wrapped in a damp paper towel, so I was curious to see what effect, if any, this method would have on the texture… and the smell.
In the original video, David Chang uses a microwaveable cooking container from the Anyday brand, with whom he works frequently. If he has more than $40 to spend on microwave cookware, go for it! That said, I don’t much! So I used a very normal glass food storage container with a lid, hoping for equally delicious results.
STEP #2: Next, I poured about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of agave nectar over the salmon.
Chang used his hands to spread the soy sauce mixture around the salmon to make sure it was evenly coated; I used a silicone brush. For your salmon, the choice is yours. You do.
STEP #3: Evenly sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt all over the piece of fish.
STEP #4: I nervously put this baby in the microwave after loosely (loosely!) covering the container with a lid.
Chang specifies that three and a half minutes will get you salmon medium, while five minutes will get you something closer to well done. Expecting something wet but no Quite medium-rare, I opted for four minutes.
STEP #5: When the four minutes were up, I opened my microwave door to find a perfectly pink piece of fish and thick, bubbly sauce. Even better: there was almost no fishy smell.
Unlike the King’s Salmon, which was simply seasoned with lemon wedges and olive oil, I found that the soy sauce gave a very pleasant and savory smell to the microwaved fish. I kind of enjoyed the aroma coming out of my microwave, if I’m being completely honest.
I let the salmon rest for exactly one minute, per the instructions. Then, to test for doneness, I used an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature. As if by magic, it registered at a perfect medium for salmon: 135ºF.
When I dug in with a fork to see how things turned out, texture-wise, I was pleased to see that it was just as tender as King’s recipe, if not more so. I was also very impressed with how evenly all the fish was cooked. There were no cold spots in the middle and the edges weren’t exaggerated either. Just moist, flaky salmon all the way through.
But beyond the texture, I’m happy to report that the taste…
Without any marinade, I was very surprised at how much flavor the soy sauce, agave, and seasoned salt mixture imparted, especially compared to Stephen King’s version, which was objectively bland. TBH, it’s a great reminder that sometimes you don’t need to shake an entire jar of a spice mix into your food to make it taste good. The simple and sweet contrast between the soy sauce and the agave made the whole thing irresistible and I would honestly like to never I know it was microwaved if you didn’t tell me.
For a more complete dinner, I finished by shredding the fish over some steamed white rice, per David Chang’s suggestion, and topped with thinly sliced scallions and furikake rice seasoning. It was easily the best meal I’ve had all week, and hands down the fastest meal I’ve made… all year?!
THE VERDICT: You have to try this recipe. Beyond being ridiculously easy, it’s also ridiculously delicious. Not including the sides, it all came together in just over five minutes, with no need to wait for appliances or cookware to preheat. The best part: there is hardly any cleanup involved. The next time you need a five-minute dinner or feel like putting minimal effort into the food you’re cooking, it’s David Chang’s Salmon.
If you try this method, please let me know what you think of it. And if you have other cooking methods (or recipes) that are more or less unconventional but totally It’s worth a try, I want to know about them! Leave them in the comments below. 👇
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