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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Salmon: Gorgeous, plain and simple.

We're all looking for simple and gorgeous. In most everything these days. A great beer, a great set of dishes, a great cookie, a great dinner party. Everything should look effortless, according to Martha and Ina and others...but they don't always make it effortless for US! And often, we NEED effortless. In a world where we work our butts off, and then work some more, we don't always have hour upon hour to cook a four-course dinner for our friends.

This salmon recipe personifies that feeling. I cannot take credit for it--it's my mother's. One of the things she always goes to for a dinner party or holiday, it's incredibly beautiful, and I've never seen anyone NOT ask for seconds. But the best part? It's wicked easy. I know, I've made it.

Your spouse will adore you, your dinner guests will marvel at your skill and technique, wondering if you've had a private lesson from Moonen or Bourdain.

But the best part? It's one of those dishes that inspires you. It makes you feel/look like a rockstar in the kitchen. Which, for most of us, is something we want even more than just simple and gorgeous.

Gingered Salmon
1/2 finely sliced scallion
6 TBSP finely grated peeled fresh ginger (you can also finely mince it)
6 TBSP grapeseed oil (or other light colored oil)
1/2 C soy sauce (I use Tamari--and always reduced sodium, no matter what)
2 TBSP sugar (I used turbinado sugar, or raw sugar
2 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 t pepper 
4 lbs salmon fillets, the skin and any bones and brown fat discarded (My mother has her fish guy remove the skin from the back as well--I didn't, as it's easy to remove once the fish is cooked.)

Make the marinade:  In a small skillet cook the scallion and the ginger in the oil over moderate heat, stirring until the mixture is golden. Remove the skillet from the heat.  
In a bowl whisk together the soy, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, pepper and the scallion mixture.

Arrange the salmon in a large shallow dish, pour the marinade over it and let the salmon marinate, covered and chilled for at least 1 hr or overnight. 
Transfer the salmon with tongs to the rack of a foil-lined broiler pan.
Brush it generously with the marinade, and broil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness
(Mom bakes it for about 10 minutes before she broils it, or you can grill it--delicious!)
It is not necessary to turn the salmon.  Serves 8-10

The crispier the top, the better!

**Note: You want to use really good salmon. Wild, not farmed. For more information on why, please visit Rick Moonen's blog listed above. I used sushi grade and it was ridonkulous--it doesn't need to cook a lot, so you want really good product. Rant over.**

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