Ginger-Lime Salmon: Page 250, Aloha Days Hula Nights

After making Gordon Ramsay’s (amazing) crispy salmon about 52 times last year, I brought home salmon from the grocery store this week intending to find some other way (any other way!) to cook it. I found the (also amazing) Seared Salmon with Ginger-Lime Sauce on page 250 of Aloha Days Hula Nights, in the Entrees – Seafood section, and I am so glad I did. Light, refreshing, simply delightful – “spa cuisine” (read: “healthy but so good you can’t believe it”) at its best. The Ginger-Lime sauce was particularly memorable – and worth a second (and third, and fourth) look.

I made a few substitutions to fit my pantry tonight: I like to cook salmon with skin because the skin is so good for you (lots of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids), so I cooked it skin-side down until the flesh had lightened two-thirds of the way up, then flipped it for a few minutes for a golden-brown crust. I also used sriracha (spicy red Thai chili sauce) instead of chilies, since I didn’t have any on hand – it’s actually a secret chef tip I picked up a few years ago. Heat, like acid, can brighten any dish in a pinch! I use jarred minced garlic and garlic paste instead of fresh garlic in my kitchen, so I rubbed a delicious European garlic paste on the salmon skin instead of slicing the fresh garlic and dropping it in the oil (though I would have loved to nosh on those fried garlic chips!) I even used regular cucumber and regular basil, and it was super tasty.

Today’s recipe was brought to you by the letter U: U can make every recipe your own! Don’t be afraid to cook something just because you’re missing an ingredient or two. Cookbooks (and coking in general) are a personal journey – no one is judging you, so take whatever liberties work for you. That’s the great pleasure in cooking – your kitchen is your kingdom. This dish certainly stood up to the “make it your own” test, and I’ll be serving it at a dinner party soon.

So pretty – and healthy and tasty too!

Seared Salmon with Ginger-Lime Sauce

GINGER-LIME SAUCE Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 Thai chilies, minced
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water

SALMON Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
GARNISH Ingredients:
  • 3 Japanese cucumbers, peeled
  • 1/3 cup chopped Thai basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, roasted peanuts

Combine garlic, chilies, sugar, ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, and water in a small bowl and stir well. Set aside for 30 minutes before serving to let flavors develop.

Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook salmon fillets until golden and just done, 3 to 4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness. About 2 minutes before salmon is done, add sliced garlic. Remove salmon and garlic and drain on paper towels.

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and julienne. Combine cucumber and basil in a small bowl. Divide in half. Place equal amounts from one half on four individual plates. Cover each wih salmon fillet, top with equal amounts of remaining cucumbers. Sprinkle with basil and a few pieces of the cooked garlic. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of Ginger-Lime Sauce, top with peanuts, and serve immediately.

Note: A wonderful dish during the warm summer months.

Serves 4.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab). All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

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