17 May 2009

Asian-style Steamed Salmon

I signed up a couple days ago for a website called Goodreads, which is basically a library website with social networking capabilities. I'm not quite sure why I signed up for it because I've been happily using aNobii for quite some time, but I guess there's no real harm in having two different libraries online. I've never used the social networking functions at aNobii and I'm not certain I will at Goodreads either, but I do like having somewhere to keep track of all the books I own and when I read them. (You can find me here at aNobii and here on Goodreads.)

I haven't been the best at adding reference books to aNobii, so there are a lot of my cookbooks that have never been added. I actually do read cookbooks, but unlike regular books, I don't mark a date in the cover when I finish them, so I never remember to add them to aNobii. But since most of my books are packed away in boxes right now, I've only added to Goodreads the books that are in my bedroom or in the kitchen, which means that the majority of my cookbooks are listed there. In fact, of the 60 books that I had in my room/kitchen, 28 of them are cookbooks.


The newest cookbook is one from Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Food Revolution (published in Britain as Jamie's Ministry of Food). I've become a bit wary of buying British cookbooks because the foods that are common there aren't necessarily the same as the ones here and I sometimes get frustrated trying to track things down or trying to figure out substitutes. I had looked at some of Jamie Oliver's previous books but never bought them for that reason. And then too, I sometimes find Oliver's recipes a bit... I don't know. Ridiculous somehow, though I can't really peg what it is that makes me think so. I've watched bits of his shows and been interested by what he's doing, but have rarely had the desire to try it out for myself.

This book, with the quick read through I did in the store, seemed a bit different. More down to earth and sort of average (though I can't think of anything particularly wild and out there I'd seen him do on television) and so much of it very accessible, even for someone in the middle of the Canadian prairies. (Or the west end of them, anyway.)

This dinner is from that cookbook. This meal preps and cooks up in about 15 minutes, though it took me a bit longer because I was toddling around taking my time doing everything while half-asleep. The fish and vegetables are steamed together in a steamer basket over water while you make the dressing. I don't know that it'd work out well for a family-sized meal, but cooking for one (or two as the recipe suggests) it was perfect. Just one dirty pot and steamer basket, one cutting board, one bowl for the dressing, one plate to eat off, and I used the cutlery I ate with for chopping and mixing.

Taste wise it was lovely as well. The fish and vegetables were only steamed so their flavour was fresh and light. The dressing was a really nice complement, and except for the olive oil and lemon is almost exactly what I'd make to use on a stir-fry. (I'd use more soy sauce for a stir-fry and then afterwards add in flour or cornstarch to thicken it, but otherwise.)

The focus of Food Revolution is the idea of getting people who don't cook or don't cook much or who mainly just order take out or buy ready-made to start cooking. (Actually, that's the same idea as Ramsay's Fast Food.) Oliver's trying to show that cooking doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming and that it's healthier and tastier than ready-made or take out.

Oliver also puts forth the idea that people who buy the books should learn some of the recipes and then pass them on to other people so that they'll start cooking as well. So here's me passing on this recipe:

Jamie Oliver's Asian-style Steamed Salmon

serves 2
a large handful of broccolini or broccoli rabe
1 x 8-oz can of water chestnuts
a large handful of sugar snap peas
2 salmon fillets, skin on, scaled and bones removed (about 7-oz each, though I used more vegetables and only about 100 g fish)

a thumb-sized piece of ginger root
1 clove of garlic
1/2 a fresh red chile
1 scallion
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon

To prepare the salmon:
If you have a steamer basket, add water to a saucepan just below the level of the basket. If you don't but have a metal colander, add water about half way up a saucepan that will hold it. Put water on high heat to boil. Trim the ends off the broccolini. (I used broccoli because it's what I had, cut to florets). Drain water chestnuts in a colander or through the steamer basket. Add washed sugar snap peas. Lay the salmon fillets, skin side down, on top of them, then scatter the broccoli over. Cover the colander with aluminum foil and scrunch tightly around the edges to seal the steam in.

To cook your salmon and make your dressing:
Put the colander or steamer basket (with lid) over your pan of boiling water and let it steam for 8 to 10 minutes. While that's happening, peel and grate the ginger and half the clove of garlic into a small bowl. Finely slice your chile (I used a serrano pepper, because it's what I could get) and scallion and add them to the bowl with the soy sauce and olive oil. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the bowl. Mix together with a spoon and set aside. After your salmon and vegetables have been steaming for 8 minutes, peel back the foil to check the fish it cooked through, it should flake apart.

To serve your salmon:
Divide the salmon, water chestnuts, and veggies between your plates or bowls. Give the dressing a quick stir and drizzle it over. Serve with the remaining lemon half, cut into wedges, for squeezing over.

Oliver also suggests using cod in place of the salmon and asparagus or asparagus, peas, and greens in place of the broccoli and snap peas. I think it'd probably be quite nice like that.

My sauce came out chunkier than in the book pictures, but I didn't measure the liquids, so I might have had too little soy sauce and olive oil.

[Edited to Add: I found the snap peas came out a little more well-steamed than I like. I think maybe putting them above the fish while steaming would solve that.]

1 comment:

  1. A friend of ours cooked this from the book and served it over steamed rice and the rice soaked all the sauce and it was divine!! I also tried the sauce over grilled chicken and with steamed green beans and it worked out well too. Definitely one of my new favorite sauces.