Being a minimalist with your wild Alaskan seafood is a great way to appreciate the quality and freshness of the catch. Keeping things simple lets each flavor and texture of your meal shine through. Knowing some three-ingredient recipes is also a MacGyver-like chef skill when your pantry is bare. Three ingredients may not sound like much to work with to make a memorable lunch or dinner, but it’s actually plenty to create countless harmonies in the kitchen. Many of these recipes can be remixed endlessly by simply changing up the herbs you use.
Note: We’re not counting your seafood choice as an ingredient here, and having some sort of fat or other medium in which to cook your meal is a given, as is salt and pepper that you’ll use to season the dish. We’re only counting those particular ingredients if they are integral to preparing or flavoring the recipe — for example, butter for a brown butter sauce, olive oil for poaching, or salt for curing.
Here’s our selection of 10 excellent seafood recipes that require three ingredients or less:
Salmon Roasted in Butter
The ingredients: Fresh herbs, butter, and lemon.
Mark Bittman’s ridiculously simple yet luxurious recipe for wild salmon roasted in butter is also a quickie and takes minimal effort. We’re counting butter as an ingredient here because you’re using a hunk of it and it’s integral to the dish.
For this recipe, you’re basically just warming up a half stick of butter and handful of green herbs in a high temp oven, adding in the salmon when things are sizzling hot, and then flipping over the fillet halfway through to finish the meal. The butter that is left in the pan becomes the sauce, along with fresh squeezes of lemon.
Miso Honey Glazed Halibut
The ingredients: Just two here, miso and honey.
The sweetness of honey and savory umami of miso paste make for a mouthwatering glaze in this recipe from Alton Brown. While this glaze works nicely brushed or spooned over a fillet of halibut, it could easily be used to glaze a fillet of wild salmon or cod. Perhaps the best part about this glaze is that it’s impossible to forget: It’s one part miso, one part honey, so you won’t have to look anything up the next time you want to make this dish.
Sablefish with Miso
The ingredients: Sake, mirin, miso.
Another sweet and savory dish, this Japanese-inspired recipe from Just One Cookbook marinates a buttery fillet of sablefish, otherwise known as black cod, to make a meal that’s reminiscent of your favorite izakaya order. But you can adapt this marinade to any fish, adjusting the cook directions to account for differences in fat content. If you’re using wild salmon, cod, or halibut, give it an extra coating of oil to keep the fillets moist.
Maple and Mustard Glazed Salmon
The ingredients: Maple syrup, mustard, and lemon.
One part maple syrup and one part whole grain mustard, this glaze is a simple and delicious way to dress up your salmon. Serve with any side you like, but Serious Eats recommends Brussels sprouts, which take to the glaze nicely on their own, but will benefit from the addition of diced red onions.
The ingredients: Lemon, rosemary, and white wine.
A meaty fillet of halibut is the perfect foil for the clean flavors of lemon, rosemary, and a splash of white wine in this simple, Mediterranean-inspired marinade from the Food Network. The fish needs just an hour or so to marinate — don’t leave it for much longer than that, lest the acid in the marinade “cook” the halibut.
Onigiri with Smoked Salmon or Leftovers
The ingredients: Rice, nori, and leftover fish or smoked salmon.
A portable and cute parcel of food, Japanese onigiri are little more than cooked rice, nori, and a tasty filling of your choice. Mince up a bit of smoked salmon or take a morsel of last night’s leftovers to roll into the center of your rice ball. The Kitchn has a short and sweet guide as to how to make onigiri, if you’ve never tried your hand at it before.
Perfectly Pan Fried Fillet of Fish
The ingredient: Herbs.
Knowing how to perfectly pan fry a fillet of fish, whether it’s salmon, halibut, or cod, is an essential kitchen skill. And it’s easier to do than frying an egg. The only ingredient you need for this — and it’s even optional! — is a sprinkling of fresh herbs. If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can give your fish a dusting of curry powder, paprika, blackening spice mix, whatever you have in your pantry. Check out our step-by-step directions for how to pan fry your next meal.
Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter
The ingredients: Butter, fresh herbs, and lemon.
Bon Appétit’s recipe for scallops in brown butter is simple, but getting it perfect is all about timing. Don’t be intimidated though! Just don’t leave your scallops unattended, as you’re waiting for the perfect moment of doneness, for both the scallops and the butter. Make sure you’re using fresh herbs, not dried ones, so that your butter sauce gets a nice infusion of flavor.
Oil Poached Fish
The ingredients: Olive oil.
Oil-poaching a fillet of fish is a great recipe for a beginner, as it’s hard to overcook what you have in the pan. Thomas Keller’s recipe for oil poached fish has you doing this properly on the stove over low heat. But if you’re not crazy about dealing with a pan of hot oil, you can replicate this in a preheated low-temperature oven — think 250 or 275 degrees F — and top the fillet with slices of lemon, a blanket of fresh herbs, minced garlic… you’re the boss.
The ingredients: Salt, sugar, and dill. Learning how to cure fresh wild Alaskan salmon at home will make you feel like a wizard in the kitchen. And it’s easy as can be! We’ve got a beginner’s guide to making homemade gravlax here that requires nothing more than a salt-sugar brine and some fresh dill.