Sunday, January 13, 2013

South East Asian salmon and raw vegetables salad.

Two things I hate about January, first January is the gloomiest month, with at least another 12 weeks to the first glimpse of spring.  December kind of keeps you busy with the holidays, so spring is not such a pressing though, but in long, cold and dark evenings in January, it is all I can think about.  Second, January means dieting, or in my case, a forced deprivation from something I love the most, cooking yummy food.  However, this year, I decided not to subject my family to the horrors of my diet, so I am cooking more than ever… Here is what they ate today…
I get inspiration for new recipes from everywhere.  But browsing (without the time limit) the aisles of a Asian supermarket get me going every time.  I already wrote about harassing people in that store for recipes from their homelands.  I have been very successful recently, scoring not only full recipes but explanations about some of the unusual products in that store and how to use them.  I am contemplating learning Chinese Pastry techniques and figuring out how a black chicken can fit into my next week’s menu.  This week was no different, I stumbled onto a Korean chili paste that I have been meaning to try forever, some fresh kefir lime leaves and some lemon grass and decided  - South East Asia would be an awesome place to take my family for dinner.  With a little hint of Korea thrown in for good measure.
I already had a beautiful salmon I meant to turn into gravallax, but decided to marinate and bake instead.  Served over a raw vegetables slaw, the flavors were complex and the meal was delicious ( or so I am told – remember I am not eating anything these days)

South East Asian salmon

6 – 8  8oz salmon filets
For the marinade:
4 kefir lime leaves chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 inch knob of fresh ginger grated
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of one lime
2 tbs of Mirin ( sweet rice wine vinegar)
3 tbs of soy sauce
1 tbs agave syrup
1 tsp fish sauce
¼ cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
1.5 tbs of Korean chili paste (or siracha)
1 tbs of toasted sesame oil
2 tbs of vegetable oil
¼ cup chopped scallions
Salt to taste
2 sticks of lemon grass bruised

Preheat the oven to 450F.  In a food processor combine all the ingredients except the lemon grass in the food processor until combined.  Taste and adjust the salt seasoning. 
Place the fish in baking tray with tall sides and pour the marinade all over the fish, making sure both sides are evenly coated.  Scatter the bruised lemon grass on top and cover with plastic.  Let marinade for about an hour.  The fish should not be marinating for longer than 2 hrs. 
Remove the plastic and bake for 15 -  20 min until the fish is opaque but not dry.  Discard the lemon grass and serve over a raw vegetables slaw using the pan juices as sauce.

Raw vegetable salad:

2 large carrots – julienned
2 large yellow squash – julienned
2 large zucchini – julienned
1 small jalapeno pepper diced very fine
2 tbs of chopped cilantro
2 tbs of chopped parsley
2 tbs of chopped scallions
2 tbs of chopped mint
1 to 2 cups of fresh watercress (you can chop it roughly)
1.5 tbs of black sesame seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tbs of honey
Juice of one lime
2 tbs of toasted sesame oil

Toss all the vegetables and herbs together.  Add sesame seeds.   Add salt, cayenne pepper, honey and lime juice and let stand a few minutes.  Add sesame oil and toss the salad lightly.  You can also add mango to this salad, it makes it slightly sweet and well suited for something like a Korean BBQ ( but that is another post)…

Delicious, healthy, full of flavor and takes you some place warm and exotic on a cold January afternoon.


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