Murakami Salted Salmon
Grilled salted salmon fillets
The city of Murakami in Niigata Prefecture is best known for its traditional salted salmon. Between October and December, salmon return from the sea to spawn in a nearby river; this is the best season for making salted salmon, as the flesh is fatty yet firm. Male salmon are caught, cleaned and scrubbed with coarse crystal sea salt, then preserved in the salt for several days to a week. They are then soaked in pure water to remove the salt before being hung and air-dried in a shady place, where they are exposed to cold winter winds for about a month. The salmon ferments naturally in this climate to produce umami, the source of its characteristic flavor. The best way to enjoy salted salmon is very simple—just grill and serve.