I do really try sometimes, but I’m just not a fish lover. However, both my girls somehow love fish and salmon in particular. I know it’s good for you. I try to buy the wild salmon which is not “CheapCooking” unless you consider your long-term health costs! But it’s strange to try to cook something you don’t really like. And it’s not an active DISlike; it’s just that there is always something else I’d rather eat. I find the best way for me to enjoy it is to bury it in something like the Tomato-Mango Salsa my mother taught me to make or even my own version with peaches. In all honesty however, I could just sit and eat the salsas with a spoon and be just as happy, if not quite as healthy.
So tonight I pulled out a few books, including Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way and Pam Anderson’s Cook Smart. Well actually I pulled out a few more but those were the two I used as inspiration tonight. Two things caught my eye. First they both recommended very similar cooking methods as one of the best ways to do salmon: baking in a low oven (Jacques says 200 and Pam says 250) for a long time (Jacques says 1 hour and Pam says 45 minutes). I didn’t have that much time if I was going to marinate the filets but I want to try that later. They also both had very similar marinades with some of my favorite ingredients: soy sauce and brown sugar. Jacques called for mirin and Pam used rice vinegar. Jacques used Tabasco sauce and Pam used red pepper flakes. So tart, soy, sweet, and hot all together basically. It’s only recently that I’ve begun using my “pattern recognition” skills in cooking, something I use in my software design work all the time. The instantiation I used tonight was basically:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 green onions, sliced
- a few dashes of Tabasco sauce
Marinade the salmon in this for a few minutes up to hours. I did about 40 minutes, which was long enough to get the flavor in the there. I didn’t have time to do the long low bake and didn’t feel like barbecuing in the rain, so I ended up poaching the salmon in the marinade basically. I put the salmon in the pan, dumped in the marinade, brought it to a high simmer, covered it, and cooked until done, probably about 5 minutes for the pieces I had. They flaked with a fork so I considered them done. But remember, I don’t really like fish so how can I tell?
The kids loved it and one has already called dibs on the rest of mine (I ate less than half what they did, but that might have something to do with the great carne asada soft tacos I had for lunch, out with a friend!). She plans on making a sandwich of it, as a friend of hers had brought salmon on whole wheat bread for lunch today and she traded something for a bite.
I cannot remember what I thought of as a great lunch to take to school when I was a kid, but I can guarantee that a salmon sandwich was not on the list. I actually liked PB&J sandwiches, but neither of my kids will eat them. One will eat peanut butter in celery or peanut butter on white bread but jelly does not enter into the equation. The other is in middle school and thinks a pastrami sandwich is about as cool as you can get, although in elementary school she thought it was fun to take leftover ribs, soup, chili, etc. but apparently that does not “do” when you’re 13. She’ll scarf it up at home on the weekends though. She’ll also eat tuna likes it’s going out of style (tuna melts and soup being a favorite of hers) but will not pack that because it’s “gross” to pack a tuna sandwich. Turkey or pastrami. And today she took a ham sandwich from the leftover ham.
Anyway, if you like salmon this is probably very good. And if you don’t like salmon, cover it with one of the salsas.