Cookbooks aren’t just for learning new recipes.
Nope, they are veritable treasure troves of information - with a good cookbook in your hands, you can explore new cuisines and new cultures, discover new ingredients and new flavor combinations. You can learn new cooking techniques and refine your own skills and learn tips and tricks to make cooking easier and more fun.
So Is it really any wonder then that I am obsessed with them and read them like novels?
I think not.
As I mentioned, “Santa” always brings me a new cookbook or two for Christmas and so most January evenings you can find me happily ensconced in front of the fireplace with a stack of cookbooks by my side. This January is no different (well, except for the fire part – it’s been way to warm around here for a fire!). One of the cookbooks in the stack is “Stir” by Barbara Lynch. Her approach to food is restrained, balanced and elegant and so for New Year’s Eve I decided to make one of the scallop recipes from the book. The scallops were wonderful - seared in a pan and nestled in a celeriac puree they were topped with toasted panko crumbs and finished with a celery foam. A simple yet elegant dish that was absolutely delicious.What was different was how the panko crumbs were toasted. Rather than toasting them in the oven, Lynch sautes them in a little butter, which not only provides more even toasting, but also infuses the crumbs with a lovely nuttiness from the butter. They were the perfect counterpoint to the rich scallops and to me were the element that really tied the whole dish together.
After making the scallops, I kept thinking that those panko crumbs would be great with salmon – especially when paired with asian inspired ingredients. Following Lynch’s lead,the ingredient list is short in order to focus the flavors. The resulting dish won a “double thumbs up” from my family – both for the flavor and for the fact that very few dishes were dirtied in production of the salmon – always a strong selling point with those on KP duty!
The salmon would be great served with soba noodles tossed with a little soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and sliced green onions. Stir fried bok choy, onions and pea pods would make a great side vegetable!
- 1 1/2 lbs. salmon filet, skinned with pin bones removed, cut into 4 - 6 oz. pieces
- 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Pre heat the oven to 400.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Stir to combine.
- Place the salmon on the foil. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the salmon.
- Let the salmon marinate for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Place the salmon in the oven and roast for 10 -12 minutes until the salmon is cooked through - salmon should be slightly opaque in the center.
- While the salmon is cooking, heat the canola or vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and the ginger and saute for 2 minutes until the garlic and ginger are softened but not browned. Add the panko crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until the panko crumbs are deep golden brown. Remove pan from the heat.
- Just before serving, stir in the lime zest. Top each piece of salmon with an even layer of the panko crumb mixture. Garnish with sliced green onions. Serve.