Sep 082010
I have to admit, I’ve been a little absent in the kitchen lately.  My counters have stayed clean, and my pots untouched.  Even the produce drawer in my fridge, which can usually barely close, has become pretty barren.  Why is this, you wonder?  Not that it’s an excuse, but I’ve been incredibly busy lately.  Between a sudden burst in my work load and a packed end of summer social calendar including birthdays and trips to Cape Cod, cooking has been, well, put on the back burner.  Pun intended.  But I’m going to get back in the swing of things, so on my way home from work today I picked up some beautiful (and unfortunately pricey) wild alaskan salmon.

I said WILD salmon.  This is very different from farm raised.  Think about it–would you rather eat a fish that has spent it’s life on a fish farm it’s eating man made corn products or a fish that frolics free in it’s natural habit?  Here are the facts:
  • Farm raised fish has much MORE fat but LESS usable omega 3’s than wild…suspicious
  • Farm raised fish are exposed to pesticides, antibiotics, and color dyes.  Did you want fish or chemicals for dinner?
Moral: pay the extra $5/lb for the wild fish if it’s available.  

I marinated the fish in a soy/rice vinegar/honey/garlic/ginger mixture.  While that was sitting, I sauteed shitake mushrooms and some frozen edamame for our side dish.  

I mixed the cooled edamame and mushrooms with shredded carrot, some sliced green onions, and cilantro.  I boiled some buckwheat soba noodles according to the directions and mixed the dressing.  I actually followed a recipe for once!!

I pressed some sesame seeds into the top of the salmon and pan seared it.  The marinade caramelized and the sesame seeds got toasty/crusty.  Good things happened in that pan.  

Nutritional highlights:  Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a gluten free grain.  If you’re trying the gluten free thing, this can be a great way to still get your noodle fix.  The edamame in the salad adds more protein and nutrients to this vegan side dish.  The wild salmon is rich in omega 3’s and much lower in fat than farm raised fish.  This is a nutritionally balanced and flavorful meal and I think I’ll come back to this one again and again!

Soy-Sesame Salmon

  • 2 salmon filets (6 oz each), wild if possible
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sesame seeds (mixture of black and white if you have them)
Soba noodles aka “Otsu”, adapted from 101cookbooks

I halved the recipe but here’s the full version which serves 6 as a side
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne (less if you can’t handle the heat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (or shoyu–wheat free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 12 oz dried soba noodles
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • any of the following:  shitake mushrooms, edamame, carrots, fresh red pepper, cucumber…
1.  Make the salmon marinade and coat salmon and let it sit for about an hour.  
2.  Make soba noodle dressing by combining first 10 (yeah i know it’s a lot) ingredients.
3.  Cook soba noodles according to directions.
4.  For my version, I sauteed the shitake mushrooms first, adding frozen edamame toward the end so they would thaw.  Let the veggies cool and add the green onion, cilantro, and any fresh veggies you’re using.  Toss with the dressing to taste…you don’t have to use it all…it’s easier to add more than take it away so take it slow.  This dressing is AMAZING.  Garnish salad with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs if you want to get fancy.
5.  For the salmon, generously sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and lightly press them into the fish.  Heat 1 teaspoon each of sesame oil and olive oil in a non stick skillet over medium high (more if you’re making more than 2 pieces of fish).  Put the salmon in skin side up/seed side down and don’t move for about 4 minutes.  Flip the fish.  Drizzle on a little more of the marinade if you have some left.  Let the fish cook about another 4 minutes or until desired doneness (will change depending on thickness etc).
6.  Serve with the soba noodle salad and enjoy!!

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