Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pan-Grilled Salmon with Asian Dressing

Home-made condiments are tragically underrated, and yet, they can make very simple meals spectacular. Why do those condiments not get the credit they deserve? They may not be as glamorous as other recipes, but they have their own subtle glory that needs to be acknowledged. Today, I am sharing one of my underdog recipes: my everything-tastes-awesome Asian dressing.

This little sauce/dressing/marinade can be used on salads, grilled meat and steamed vegetables. My favorite way to use it is with a lovely piece of salmon and some steamed veggies. It's the sort of super simple but utterly delicious stuff I like to whip up at the end of a long work week, when I want to feel like a top-notch cook without breaking a sweat.

Here is how to make a minimalist and tasty Asian-themed dinner:

2 (1/2 pound) salmon fillets, skin on
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 to 1 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 or 2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 or 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 lime, juiced

Put the grated ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Add the sesame and olive oil, the soy sauce, lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Whisk together. Taste, and adjust as needed to balance the saltiness of the soy sauce, sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, tartness of the lime and heat of the chile.

Grilling fish in the pan is also very easy: preheat a grilling pan over medium heat and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Put the fillets in the pan, skin-side down and baste with the Asian dressing. Cooking fish in the pan like that makes it easy to tell when it is ready to flip over, because you can literally see it cooking before your eyes. When it looks half-cooked, flip the fish fillets and let cook for another 3 or 4 minutes (depending on how thick the fillets are, and on how done you like your salmon). Serve the fillets with steamed veggies and rice, and use the leftover dressing on the fish and vegetables.

See? How easy it that! Here is how you can make it even easier: don't even think about grating garlic and ginger (or nutmeg and cinnamon, for that matter) or the small hole-side of a box grater. Just don't. Get a microplane grater: it will change your life.

Another good trick: ginger is much easier to grate if it's been frozen. I love ginger, so I always make sure to have tons of it around, and there is always a few big chunks in a freezer bag, just waiting to come out to be grated and added to recipes such as this one.

This recipe may be small and easily overlooked, but seriously, give it a shot; you won't believe how awesome it tastes!

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