Asian-inspired Grilled Salmon Salad

This past weekend is now officially known as the Epic Weekend of Fun.  Just to run some of the numbers quickly:

  • One dip in an ice cold river.
  • Not one, but two epic cover bands.
  • The trifecta of lunches: brisket, burgers, and fried chicken.
  • Four amigos.
  • Five mile hike somewhere 45 minutes from the city, which felt like it was about 4500 miles from the city.
  • (Far too many) bottles of wine.  Let’s not put a number on this one.

This week, I’m thinking about atoning for our sins (side note: this seems to be a theme around here).  To the Husband’s chagrin, this means hitting up the fish train.  Honey: welcome to tonight’s dinner.

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Asian-Inspired Grilled Salmon

  • about 4-5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 bag arugula/baby kale/spinach
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • cilantro, to serve
  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce through garlic and mix well.  Set aside about a third of the mixture to act as your dressing later on.  In a large flat bottom bowl, pour the soy sauce mixture and lay the salmon, flesh side down (to increase absorption).  Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes – any longer and the soy sauce will start to toughen up the protein.
  2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Add salmon, flesh side down, and grill about 4-5 minutes.  Using tongs, flip to the other side and grill until the middle is no longer pink.  The skin will sort of neatly fall away from the fish as you remove it.
  3. Assemble your salad ingredients (arugula through avocado) and lay your cooked fish on top.  Dress with the reserve soy sauce mixture + feel virtuous.

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The Verdict:

This is a super easy, super quick way to feel super virtuous and healthy.  Of course, we’ll be taking our nightly trip to Mr. Yogato right after this.  We finally have enough stamps for a free fro-yo! #theepicweekendcontinues

Roasted Salmon with Horseradish and Homemade Dill Creme Fraiche

All of the Safeway grocery stores in DC have an alliterative descriptor, ranging from the innocuous to the offensive.

There’s the Social Safeway up in Georgetown (also sometimes known as the Single Safeway), where it’s rumored you can pick up a date (it’s also just the closest Safeway to the Georgetown campus).  There’s the (former) Secret Safeway, which no one could ever find – (now a ridiculously delicious small-batch grocery store; if you visit DC, you must eat their kale slaw).  There’s the Senior Safeway, located by the Watergate, where some of our more…experienced citizens live.

And there’s the Safeway closest to us, not-so-affectionately known as the Soviet Safeway.  This nickname is based on two primary reasons: 1. its inability to stock fresh bread and anything but the most wilted of vegetables; and 2. its obscenely long lines.

All of this is a (very long) say of saying I don’t buy fresh fish often.  The Husband loves this, as he’s just not into fish.  As someone who negotiates with my sister for the last piece of lox, I feel differently.

This salmon (not from Safeway) was amazing – recipe based on Cooking Light‘s.  It takes a while – but none of it is hands-on; make it the night before, spend a few quick minutes before you leave for work in the morning, and it’s ready in 20 minutes after you get home.  I promise it will make for a very fiesta-y Friday.

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Roasted Salmon with Horseradish and Homemade Dill Creme Fraiche

**if you want enough creme fraiche to adequately feed more than 2 people, would suggest doubling the ingredients starting with heavy cream going through s&p**

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (about 3-4 sprigs)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2-3 big tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-3 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • about 1 pound salmon (this is enough for 2 people, with leftovers for lunch)
  1. Prepare creme fraiche: before you go to bed, combine cream, buttermilk and vinegar in a small bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature, about 8 hours.  When you wake up, add the dill, about 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Cover again and refrigerate, about 8-12 hours.  You’ll have a lovely, tangy sauce when you get home from work.
  2. Prepare horseradish “marinade:” combine a pinch of salt, pepper, horseradish, parsley, shallots, capers and olive oil in a small bowl.  Mix thoroughly, and then spread over the salmon fillets.  Cover and refrigerate, about 8-12 hours.
  3. Cook fish: preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place fish (skin side down) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast for about 12-15 minutes, or until done.  Serve with creme fraiche and a side of simple, roasted asparagus (which magically takes the same amount of time as the fish!).

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The Verdict:

The Husband cleaned his plate.  I nearly licked mine.  Pack any leftover fish with a bit of spinach and a dollop of the sauce, and have yourself a merry little lunch.  Also: when was the last (or any, in my case) time you made your own creme fraiche!?  There’s something that’s definitely not stocked at our Safeway.

Slow-Braised Salmon with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions: cook more fish at home (sorry, Husband-who-doesn’t-like-fish).  The only problem is: I don’t actually like the smell of fish lingering in my kitchen after I grill or saute it.  In general, I use the oven to bake fish (a little soy sauce, a little brown sugar, and poof! Dinner!), but I wondered: could the solution be even easier?  As in, could I, as in all things tasty and easy, use my crockpot?

It turns out, yes, yes I can, and so can the Husband, who executed this recipe, inspired by Williams Sonoma.

salmon in the crockpot? yes.
salmon in the crockpot? yes.

Slow-Braised Salmon with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

for the salmon

  • about 1/2 cup veggie, seafood, or chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • pinch salt
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or dill, which pairs great with salmon, but I can never find)
  • as many salmon fillets as you can stand to eat (or fit in your crockpot without layering)
  • fresh ground pepper
  • baby spinach, for serving

for the sauce

  • 1 shallot, diced
  • about a cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo
  • another sprig or two of thyme, twiggy parts discarded
  • fresh parsley, chopped (the Husband used cilantro, which, if you’re like me, you’ll also find works, despite the weird-sounding combo.  Parsley would work slightly better with the lemony notes of thyme, though.)
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 2-3 small cucumbers, diced
  • optional: wedge lemon
  1. In your crockpot (yay!), combine the stock, wine, onion, thyme, salt, pepper and about a 1/2 cup of water.  Stir, cover, and cook on low for 30 minutes.
  2. Add salmon, skin side down, cover, grind a little bit of pepper on top, and cook on low for about an hour.  The fish will turn opaque and be completely, deliciously tender.
  3. As the fish cooks, whisk together the yogurt, a touch of mayo, shallot, more thyme, parsley, pinch cumin and the cucumber.  Season with salt and pepper and if you so desire, a squeeze of lemon.
  4. Serve the salmon on top of the baby spinach and spoon the sauce over each fillet; garnish with parsley.  Eat up.
after this: meal of chocolate-covered pretzels.
after this: meal of chocolate-covered pretzels.

The Verdict:

The Husband smothered his in sauce, but he declared this highly edible, if not outright…good.  I loved this – so easy, so tasty, so healthy, and delicious the next day, served cold with a salad of spinach and avocado.  Bonus: you can eat as many chocolate-covered pretzels as you like after this; you earned them.

Manic Monday: Coconut Curry Salmon and Asian Slaw

I think it’s traditional to cook fish on Friday, but when you grocery shop on a Sunday, there’s no way you want that salmon sitting around in your fridge that long.  That is why, despite coming home late from work today with a full-on case of the Mondays, I forced myself to cook that baby up.  Note to self – that’s why planning out the week is so helpful!

Cooking Light is a standard go-to for recipe ideas.  I generally don’t quite follow them to a “T” – meaning my meals are not always fit to be called “light” – but I do enjoy pretending that I’m cooking healthfully.   This one is no exception – heavily inspired by their recipe for Coconut Curry Salmon with Basmati Rice and Snow Peas.

Coconut Curry Salmon with Asian-inspired Slaw

for the fish…

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • juice from a leftover lime and a leftover lemon
  • big spoonful of Sambal Oelek (or any type of chili paste)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • salmon fillets, skinned
  • salt
  1. Combine the sugar, lime/lemon juice, curry paste and can of coconut milk in a large skillet, heat slightly.  Add the fish to the pan and bring it to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes.  Serve over Asian slaw…below.

for the slaw…

  • one bag of cabbage/shaved brussels sprouts (from Trader Joe’s, obvi)
  • garlic
  • soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • sesame oil

1.  Heated two turns of dark sesame oil in a large saute pan; added the garlic for a minute or two and then the slaw.  A few turns with both the soy sauce and the rice vinegar, and then cooked it all down together.

The Verdict:

The husband makes a big point out of not liking fish, but since I plan, shop for and cook the meals, we’re slowly incorporating more fish into the diet.  He cleaned his plate on this one.  This was easy, delicious, and relatively fast.  A definite keeper, even if next time I skip the soy sauce on the slaw…too salty.