Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Seven Fish Dishes Finale: Salmon With Wasabi Salsa Verde

If you've been following along with the Seven Fish Dishes, you know we're almost done for this year. But there's still one to go -- and the crowning touch, as far as Daughter #1 is concerned:

Salmon, in all its juicy, rich-flavored glory.

Sometimes I bake a whole salmon. Sometimes I do fillets -- they're just as tender (provided you don't overcook them), and soak up more of whatever sauce you provide.

I've done a teriyaki version before -- but this year's salmon uses a Filipino-inspired sauce from Dale Talde's new cookbook, Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes From the Philippines to Brooklyn. 

I'm amazed how much I've enjoyed this irreverent mix of cuisines -- why not, they taste delicious! He includes such oddball recipes as Buttered Toast Ramen with Bacon & Eggs (really), as well as versions of Orange Beef, Kung Pao Chicken Wings and Pad Thai that will knock your socks off. Dale's Grilled Sweet Potato Skewers with soy sauce, maple and bacon, will be part of our Christmas dinner this year.

This sauce takes advantage of wasabi, a fiery Japanese horseradish that often accompanies sushi. Anyhow, here's Dale's:

(makes about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots   (yes, you can substitute onion -- but chop it fine)
1/2 teaspoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon wasabi oil, plus more to taste (or substitute 1/4 teaspoon wasabi paste, to start)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons very finely chopped cilantro

Stir first five ingredients together; add olive oil, whisking as you go. Just before serving, stir in cilantro -- add more wasabi, if the mixture's not spicy enough. Drizzle across Baked Salmon (see below).
     Dale serves this sauce brushed on steak after it's grilled rare.


1 whole salmon (about 1/2 pound for each person)
   or 1/2 fillet for every guest   (1 fillet each, if you're not talking Seven Fish Dishes)
1 lemon, squeezed for the juice, then sliced
garlic -- garlic salt or powder, or chopped fresh garlic (2 cloves ought to do it)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your baking pan with foil. (These guys can get messy, and the fishy smell penetrating -- using foil lets you get rid of it quickly.) Add salmon, drizzle lemon juice over, then add the lemon slices. Sprinkle lightly with garlic. Bake for 20 min. (fillets) or 40 min. (whole salmon) -- fish is done when it's opaque white and flakes easily. Serve drizzled with wasabi sauce.

    If you're cooking Seven Fish Dishes, let this bake with other dishes, then stay warm on the back of the stove until just before serving. (Undercook, rather than overcook -- it will finish cooking while it's staying warm.) Pop back into the oven briefly, if need be, before serving.

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