Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Simple Soy Salmon with Honey-Ginger-Chili Glazed Vegetables

Had an absolute craving for salmon on the way home from work today, and I knew there were some fresh carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms sitting in the fridge.  The resulting dish was an easy combination of ingredients I mostly had on hand (minus the fish), and it was ready in about 20 minutes.  Super weeknight meal: fresh, fast, and satisfying.

At the advice of the hubs, who picked up this tip from his father, I keep a big chunk of ginger root in the freezer at all times.  It comes in handy for quickly spicing up an average meal into something delicious.  Just break or carefully cut off a piece from the frozen chunk, slice the outer layer off, and chop while frozen.

Southern Spoon blog: soy salmon with honey-ginger-chili glazed vegetables
salmon and mushrooms basted with soy, crisp-tender veg glazed with honey, ginger, and chili
During our first year of dating in England, the hubs and I regularly cooked meals together in our tiny, shared graduate student kitchens.  His Dad's honey-soy stir-fry made frequent appearances because it was easy, cheap, and delicious, and it fulfilled the hubs' craving for Australian-Asian food the way homemade fajitas helped my Tex-Mex fix.  I'm sure our respective housemates didn't appreciate the strong smells that billowed from the kitchen, but that stir-fry was one of my favorites.  I've deconstructed it here into a main fish course and side of broccoli and carrots.  The ginger-honey-chili glaze for these vegetables is a winner, and it's a perfect contrast to the salty soy-basted salmon.   I usually have rice in the pantry, but was out this evening.  To make this meal stretch further, just make a pot of fluffy basamati rice and serve the salmon and mushrooms over the rice, with the glazed vegetables on the side.
Southern Spoon blog: soy salmon with honey-ginger-chili glazed vegetables
soy salmon and mushrooms
with honey-ginger-chili glazed broccoli and carrots
Chef's note: one of the best parts of this dish is the salmon skin, so make sure to get fillets that still have the skin on them.  Trust me, even if you don't usually prefer to eat the skin of cooked fish, this recipe might just change your mind.  It cooks up extra crispy as you panfry the fish and soaks up lots of the delicious soy sauce.  Along with the little slices of mushroom in the pan which soak up the soy juices, the skin and mushrooms are little explosions of flavor as you eat the mild, tender salmon.

Simple Soy Salmon with Honey-Ginger-Chili Glazed Vegetables
Serves 3

2 large carrots
1 medium-sized head of broccoli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I used rice bran oil)
2 tablespoons honey
1-inch slice of fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (to taste)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 500 g package (about 1 lb) deboned salmon fillets, skin on
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce if cooking g-f; sub coconut aminos if desired for paleo-friendly)
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Wash and peel the carrots, trim the tops, and wash the broccoli. Chop the carrots into long sticks, about   3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Cut the broccoli into long, thin pieces, slicing each floret in half. Chop the ginger finely.

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to the boil. Add the carrots, cooking for about 3 minutes. Then add the broccoli to the same pot and cook together with the carrots for about 3 more minutes. Drain the vegetables with a colander.

In the same pot (now empty), pour about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the honey, chopped ginger, chili flakes, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to low heat, and add the carrots and broccoli back to the pot, tossing gently to coat them with the glaze. Continue to keep the vegetables over low heat while the salmon cooks.

Meanwhile, heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat, coating the bottom with 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium. Push the mushrooms to the edges of the skillet, and coat the bottom of the skillet with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Place the fish fillets, skin side down, onto the skillet, leaving a little space between each fillet if possible. Drizzle the soy sauce over the top of each salmon fillet, and top them off with a few pinches of freshly ground black pepper. Cook fish until just cooked through and opaque, approximately 7-9 minutes.

Serve immediately. Place a fillet of salmon on a plate and garnish with the mushroom slices, arrange glazed broccoli and carrots on the side.

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