1/14/10

Clean and fresh

Personally, I'm not one for new year's resolutions. Sure, I could give up the addictively spicy corn nuts from Whole Foods that I can't seem to get enough of and my husband can't stand to see me crunch. By the end of January, I can't remember what I've said I would do or wouldn't do and life swiftly kicks me into February.

I once gave up coffee for lent, something I've never adhered to, and everyone around me suffered. There is not enough tea in this world to keep me sharp and raring to go in the morning, in fact, it often puts me to sleep. One thing that I do require in the month of January is a return to clean and fresh ingredients that pair nicely with a pilates class or two. After all the holiday pie pans are put well out of reach, I often lean towards fish, particularly something steamed with enough flavor to keep it interesting.

I'm not sure authentically Asian this dish is, but I adore Southeast-Asian cuisine that combines hot, sweet, salt and sour in one zingy bite. This combination's praises are sung by chef Tom Kime, who I was lucky enough to take a class from in London. I have several of his dishes on my "to-make" list, particularly ones I adored on our trip to Vietnam, and the flavors he brings in his dishes are amazing.

The salmon I used in the dish below can be substituted for any fish you prefer. Halibut is nice, and cod is always lovely, if you can get it from a sustainable source.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit's December issue. It is a great base recipe and you can adapt it in many ways. If I'm feeling particularly pure, I steam some fish like this with nothing more than a dash of sesame oil, soy sauce, some lime juice and some minced fresh ginger. Once it's ready to serve, top with some spring onions and you're ready to go.

Salmon with Hoisin, Orange and Bok Choy
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2

2 x 5-6 oz salmon fillets
2 heads of bok choy, cut into 6 pieces lengthwise
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
handful of coriander, some leaves left whole and the rest chopped
1 tsp cracked coriander seeds

Preheat your oven to 425F. Lay out two 12 inch square of aluminum foil and put one bok choy on each to create a bed for your fish. Lay the fish fillets on top. Crack your coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle or bash them up in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. Combine orange juice, lime juice, orange peel, hoisin sauce, 1/2 of the green onions and sesame oil. Sprinkle the fish with a little salt and the coriander seeds. Top each of the fillets with the sauce and top with cilantro.

Pinch and fold all of the edges until the fish is sealed in the aluminum foil. Place the packets on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Check to see the fish is done to your liking and serve.

You can serve some rice on the side or soba noodles, but I like to eat it just as it is.

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