Friday, April 29, 2011

The other day, I purchased some nice thick salmon fillets and wondered how I should prep them.

I used to make a soy sauce-maple syrup glaze I really enjoyed on broiled salmon. However, maple syrup is a precious commodity here so I don’t use it very often. In fact, the syrup bottle is stashed in the back of the fridge for those rare weekend mornings I’m craving American pancakes.

I still wanted to do an Asian-inspired marinade for the salmon, so I started looking through my Asian noodle, Thai and Bali cookbooks I have.

I found one Thai recipe for plah sah-mohn pao or grilled salmon with a chili-lime sauce that sounded perfect. I had to tweak the recipe a bit to use what I had on hand. No fish sauce, but I did buy some recently from a Macro Center here.

I love using Asian ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro, chilies, coconut, curries and lime juice to create that yin and yang of flavors in a dish. I recently met a Thai woman who lives in my neighborhood, and I hope to take a cooking lesson or two from her to learn some more.

For the recipe, just mix the marinade ingredients together, let the salmon bathe in the marinade for awhile and then throw it in a hot oven to bake. It’s that simple.

Serve the salmon fillets on top of steamed rice or sesame-peanut noodles like I did.

Afiyet olsun!

Thai-Inspired Salmon
(Inspired by “Quick and Easy Thai” by Nancie McDermott)

3 T. garlic, chopped
3 T. fresh cilantro
1 ½ T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
1 sm. Turkish spicy green pepper or 1 serrano chili

4-6 salmon fillets (about 4 oz. each)

1. Using a food processor, combine the marinade ingredients together. Grind together until you achieve a paste-like consistency, adding a bit of water as needed to thin the marinade out a bit. Alternatively, finely chop the garlic, cilantro and chili and mix with the other ingredients in a bowl.
2. Place the salmon fillets in a small glass pan or bowl and toss to coat with the marinade. Let rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 425F/218 C.
4. To cook the fish, preheat a medium-sized metal skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the fillets, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Then, place the pan in the oven and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, a bit longer depending on how thick your fillets are.