Sunday, April 17, 2016

Roasted Salmon with Chile and Sichuan Peppercorns

How many meals can I make for my house guests??? I bake, saute, braise and boil a host of entrees and sides. My excitement knows no bounds as I plan and execute a plethora of good eats. This is the pre-game buzz. Geets, Suju, Padma and Vini have plentiful choices at meals. Out of the many seafood concoctions, the salmon hits a home run. 

My inspiration is Lizzie Mabbot's Chinatown Kitchen. Her recipes are different, diverse and delightful riffs on Asian favorites. This recipe is my riff on her steamed tofu. The sauce is a blistering mouthful of chile and sichuan peppercorns. Tofu is not my protein of choice. So I figure this intriguing sauce should blanket fish....much more to my taste. Salmon slices are quickly pan fried and then roasted in a hot oven. I assemble the sauce while salmon cooks. Sauce is drizzled onto hot salmon, garnished with scallions and herbs and we dine on a marriage made in Asian heaven. 

Serves 4-6

1 - 1/2 Lbs Salmon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper 
1 + 1 tablespoon Olive Oil 
3 Garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese Black Vinegar 
1 teaspoon Sugar
2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce 
1/2 teaspoon Chile Flakes
2 tablespoons Water 
1 teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorns 
2 Scallions 
Fresh Cilantro
Mint leaves
Thai Basil leaves

Heat oven to 350F.

Cut salmon into 2 inch wide slices. You should have 8-10 pieces. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick saucepan on a high flame.

Season salmon with salt and pepper.

Pan fry salmon, placing the side with no skin in the oil. Cook for a minute or two till salmon is light brown, then flip and cook on skin side for 1 minute more. 

Place salmon on a sheetpan and bake for 6-8 minutes.

Start the sauce by heating remaining oil in a pan.

Mince garlic and add to oil and let it turn light brown. Take it off the flame.

Add both soy sauces, black vinegar, sugar, oyster sauce, chile flakes and water to garlic oil.

Crush Sichuan peppercorns lightly and add to sauce.

Cut scallions into thin slices.

Take salmon out of the oven.

Drizzle sauce over salmon.

Garnish with scallions, cilantro, mint and Thai basil and serve. 

The chile sauce gives buttery salmon a spicy kick. Everyone enjoys the simplicity of sauce and salmon. Herbs add fresh flavor. I have so much more fun cooking for friends than cooking with them. The fridge is brimming with foods they love. Each meal is an overindulgence of appetites, an excess of laughter and a visit full of indelible memories. Just the way we friends like it.