Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adventures in salmon

I went to Whole Foods today, because it's the only place I know of in this city that sells bulk organic olive oil, which is a must for my homemade salad dressings. Although olive oil will solidify when refrigerated, coconut oil solidifies to a whole other level. Like, unless you heat it up, it will just not uncoagulate as a dressing. ANYWAY. I noticed that they had a sale on fresh, wild-caught sockeye salmon; I usually opt for the cheaper coho or river salmon, so I was excited to take advantage of this deal.

After I got home, I experienced full-fridge paralysis. I was sooo hungry and had possibly one million dinner combinations before me. Therefore, I wanted to cook everything. But I was able to figure out a way to make my 1/2 lb of salmon become two meals: ceviche and Thai salmon.

Ceviche (cooked by acid)

Ok, well first of all, here's the whole piece of fish. The recipe calls for cutting it as thinly as possible.

This was difficult. I screwed it all up. I had so much difficulty cutting at a sharp angle; I suspect this was where I failed the entire exercise. But, I also suspected that the details I overlooked would only make my dish uglier and not any less tasty. In fact, I chopped up some Texas sweet white onion, not the red onion and shallots the recipe called for. Time will tell.

I just fudged the amounts. The recipe calls for 1.5 lbs of salmon, so I had to just trust my gut because I was too hungry for math. I chopped up some sweet Texas white onion, jalapeno, and juiced one lime. Added a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and voila: SAUCE.

I made two layers of ceviche and then covered it and I'll eat it in a few hours. It was at this point that I realized that I picked a silly thing to prepare while hungry: something I can't eat right away. 
So was it good? I don't know, I haven't tried it yet. Because I ate this:

Thai salmon (baked)

With my remaining salmon, I proceeded with my cooked dish. But yet again, it calls for marination. Luckily, the minimum marinating time is 10 minutes. 

I combined many lovely ingredients in a bowl, such as soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, jalapeno, fish sauce, garlic, honey, and lemongrass. I had to substitute a jalapeno for a Thai chili; I actually have a Thai chili plant but it's not fruiting yet. 
I also have lemongrass growing, but it wasn't exactly mature enough yet for me to yank up a bunch of it; I still pulled two leaves off and their crinkly roots smelled incredibly fragrant, and it totally did the trick.

I cooked the sauce on medium-high for about 7 minutes until it got pretty thick, then stuck it in the fridge to cool off a bit.

Lastly, I coated each side of my small fillets with the thick, gooey sauce and put it in the fridge.

Then I had to think about what to serve it with. I have these really awesome beans I got from the farmers market last week...I don't remember exactly what they are, but they're Asian. So I figured they would get along with my Thai salmon quite nicely.

I steamed it and then let it bathe in the oils and flavors of the salmon after I had fried it in a skillet.

I decided I was in the mood for some grains, so I poured coconut milk, water, and lime juice into a pot with about 1/2 cup of brown rice; I added a touch of salt and honey to give it some nice contrasting flavors, and boiled the heck out of it for 40 minutes. Damn you brown rice...why do you have to be so good but take so long?

So here it is. It was AMAZING. The flavors were outstanding. Just incredible. This is one of the best fish dishes I've ever made. Yeehaw!
The end.

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