Easy Baked Salmon with Mayo Masago Sauce that’s so easy, simple and it goes wonderfully with rice and other Korean foods. It’s a very popular dish among Korean Americans.
Baked Salmon topped with a Mayo + Masago (fish eggs) + Green Onions is a dish that I had many years ago at a friend’s house and I loved it so much I knew I had to make it at home. And I have made it a few times after but I recently decided to share with you because we all need easy and simple recipe ideas these days, right?
BTW, if you have a large family or want to make it for a party, you can just bake the whole side of salmon like below. It looks wonderful on the table and also is so easy to prepare.
What Salmon works best for Baked Salmon with Mayo?
I have cooked both the wild and farmed salmon. As you probably know already, farmed salmon is lot more fatty and wild salmon is less fatty but with a bit more strong flavors. Both work fine for this Baked Salmon recipe but because the mayonnaise sauce is quite rich, it works really works well with wild salmon – it stays moist and adds a rich flavor.
BTW, Is Salmon a native Korean Fish?
The short answer is yes. But due to various factors, the number of wild salmon is very small and Koreans never got a great start to farming Salmon so majority of Salmon sold in Korea are imported. And I don’t know whether it happened because there wasn’t enough Salmon available or what, but not until very recently has Salmon been a part of Korean diet.
Thus, there is no traditional Korean dish that uses Salmon specifically. Salmon is called Yeoneo 연어 in Korean and in recent years it has gained popularity in Korea, mostly as hwe 회 (sashimi) and then simply grilled as banchan.
But in the US, Korean Americans started to make this baked Salmon with Mayo and Masago eggs for buffet parties and gatherings because it goes so well with other Korean foods. And the first time I tasted it, it was one of those dishes that was labeled as ‘need to learn how to make it’ dish in my brain.
And with the on-going lockdown and having to cook meals everyday, I was getting bored with my own cooking.. haha.. and I have been wanting to try something different that’s yummy and easy to cook. I also saw a beautiful whole salmon at our local Costco last fall and I wanted to bring it home to practice my fish deboning skills and also to enjoy it while it was still fresh.
Tobiko (Nalchi Al) vs Masago (Yeolbingeo Al)
Did you know that (although they are often used interchangeably), they are eggs from different fishes and they also taste different? On your left is Tobiko – Nalchi Al 날치알 in Korean – which is Flying Fish Roe. On the right is Masago – Yeolgbingeo Al 열빙어알 – which is Capelin Roe.
Tobiko are larger, translucent and more flavorful eggs. Masago are smaller, cloudy eggs that are quite similar and so it is often substituted. But there is a clear difference in flavor.
Masago slightly works better than Tobiko for this recipe. Tobiko has a distinct bonito like flavor which just doesn’t seem to work as well with salmon.
Baked Salmon with Mayo + Masago Sauce
Servings: 2 Cook Time: 27 min Difficulty: Medium
- Masago Capelin Fish Roe (Yeolbingeo Al 열빙어알)
- Onion, Green Onion
- Green Plum Syrup (Maesil Syrup) –
- Substitute – mix 1 Tbsp water, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar and use 1:1 amount.
- Salt, Pepper
- Olive oil or any vegetable oil
- Fresh Parsley (optional)
- For individual serving size fillets, preheat oven to 400 ℉. For a whole fillet, preheat to 375 ℉.
- If making individual serving size baked salmon, cut a fillet into 6-7 oz pieces. Below shows a 13 oz piece cut into 2 pieces of 6.5 oz each. FYI, normal servings size is 4 oz or so. This is on the bigger side because that’s the size my family likes. 😜 If baking a whole fillet, you can just use it as is.
- Salt and pepper the salmon lightly on both sides. Above images show the density of salt on the salmon. Salting is one of the most important part of cooking fish so I hope you learn to salt your fishes to your liking. I used Korean rough Cheonilyeom sea salt (the one used for kimchi) here – and I like to crush them with my hands as I sprinkle them. Also, remember to salt each side as the pieces are pretty thick.
- Lightly sprinkle some lemon juice on the fillets. I do a slight squeeze of the lemon – just about 1/4 tsp or so for each piece. Set aside. The above right, shows how I took a whole wild salmon fillet and seasoned them.
- Make Mayo Masago sauce –
- Finely chop onion using a chopper or grate onion, green onions and optionally chop fresh parsley
- In a bowl, MIX Mayonnaise, onions, Masago eggs, green onions, salt, maesil syrup, optionally Siracha sauce and chopped parsley.
- Lightly oil a sheet pan directly or for easier cleanup line a pan with parchment paper or tin foil first and then spread oil – to prevent the salmon from sticking. This one shows how I prepared a whole side of salmon for baking.Here are 2 small 4 oz fillets topped with sauce.
- Put salmon in the pan (skin side down) and spoon the Masago Mayo sauce pretty heavily and generously on top of the salmon. You will have a little bit (1 Tbs or so) of the sauce leftover but should not have too much.
- When oven is ready, BAKE
- for 6-7 oz fillets, BAKE at 400 ℉ for 15 minutes then BROIL for 2 min.
- for a whole side of salmon, BAKE at 375℉ for 15 min, then 5 min at 400℉ then finally (optionally) BROIL an extra 2 min to get it nicely browned. Salmon will be fully cooked but not dry and perfectly juicy with these times. If you prefer, you can reduce the initial bake time by 3-4 min to have salmon that’s less cooked.
- This is how it looks when it’s all done!
One-Pan Baked Salmon Meal Idea
An easy one-pan meal idea is to make a side of vegetables and roast them all together. Cut up whatever vegetables you have – onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, green beans.. they will all go well with salmon.
Just salt and pepper the veggies, drizzle some olive oil. If you have some herbs like parsley, add that. You can also sprinkle some garlic powder for extra flavor.
Then, make a little basket with tin foil and grill them next to the salmon in the same sheet pan – like below.
The only thing – be sure to check the veggies and take out the veggies when they are done. They should be done after the first 15 min bake at 375 ℉. You may want to leave them a little longer if you want to brown them more but definitely DO NOT broil them.
- I love having this salmon with rice, veggies and a quick salad. I just used pre-washed salad mix and drizzled some bottled salad dressing. But you can also use any of my salad dressing which you can make a batch and store in the fridge. Here’s a quick pic of the dinner we had after taking pictures for this post. 😝
- Another option is to just cut up some fresh vegetables and serve with a side of salad dressing as a dipping sauce. Red Shell Japanse Miso Dressing on the left is quite readily available at many markets and goes well with Korean food. The right one is a Sesame dressing. This way, if you have leftovers, you can just put them back in the fridge.
Well, I hope this will help you make a simple and quick meal sometime!
Baked Salmon with Spicy Mayo Masago Sauce
- 12 oz salmon
- salt and pepper
- 1 lemon squeezed juice for salmon and slices for topping
- 2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
- 1.5 Tbsp onion grated or finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp masago eggs (yeolbingeo al 열빙어알) aka capellin roe
- 2 Tbsp green onions chopped
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp green plum syrup Maesil Syrup
- 1 tsp Siracha (optional – but increase salt to 1/4 tsp if you are going to omit Siracha)
- 1 Tbsp olive or other vegetable oil for pan
- For individual serving size fillets of 6-7 oz, preheat oven to 400 ℉. For a whole fillet, preheat to 375 ℉.
- If making individual serving size baked salmon, cut a fillet into 6-7 oz pieces. If baking a whole fillet, you can just use it as is.
- Salt and pepper the salmon lightly on both sides. Also, cut a small lemon into 1/2, squeeze a little bit of the juice on the salmon. If baking a whole salmon fillet, you can slice the remaining lemon into thin slices and decorate by adding on top.
Make Mayo Masago sauce –
- Finely chop onion using a chopper or grate onion, green onions and optionally chop fresh parsley
- In a bowl, MIX Mayonnaise, onions, Masago eggs, green onions, salt, maesil syrup and optionally Siracha sauce and chopped parsely.
- Lightly oil a baking pan OR for easy clean up, use tin foil. Line the pan with tin foil and spread oil on the foil to prevent sticking.
- Put salmon skin side down in the pan and spoon the Masago Mayo sauce pretty heavily and generously on top of the salmon. You will have a little bit (1 Tbs or so) of the sauce leftover but not too much.
- When oven is ready, for smaller 6-7 oz fillets, BAKE at 400 ℉ for 15 minutes then BROIL for 2 min. for some color. To bake a whole fillet, BAKE at 375℉ for 15 min, then 5 min at 400℉ then finally BROIL an extra 2 min for best color. You will get a fully cooked salmon but not dry and perfectly juicy with these times. If you prefer a somewhat less cooked salmon, you can reduce the initial bake time by 2-3 min.
Tips & Notes:
- Note – the nutrition does not include info for Masago as I had a hard time finding the accurate info for that.
- If you want to make some vegetables to go with the fish, cut up some onions, mushrooms and/or bell peppers, toss them lightly in EVOO, salt, pepper, maybe some chopped parsley and garlic powder. Grill them in the same pan as the fish but separate it with a foil basket. – Be sure to take out the vegetables after the 15 min bake as they are likely to get fully done by then. You will overcook them if you leave them in the oven all the way to the end.
- Serve with some green salads or fresh vegetables and Japanese sesame or miso salad dressing. I love adding veggies like this last minute.
- For a whole side of salmon, use the following amounts –
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup grated onion
- 3/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 cup masago
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs maesil syrup