Sesame salmon with cucumber salad and wasabi-butter sauce

Salmon offers ease into spring

Originally appeared in the April 5, 2012 edition if the Southside Times.

With the temperate winter we experienced in Indiana, it feels like spring has been slowly sneaking in since January.  But now that the mild season is officially here, it’s time to start turning our culinary attention to lighter, fresh fare.

This week’s recipe contains a trio of individually constructed components, which unite to form an intricate dish.  It might sound complicated, but don’t jump the gun—check it out: the technique for the salmon is a simple sear followed by a quick finish in the oven; the cucumber salad is composed of a painfully easy vinaigrette paired with the aforementioned veg; and the sauce is an adaptation of a stabilized lemon-butter sauce.

The Asian influence shouldn’t be lost on you—both sesame seeds and sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and wasabi powder should be dead giveaways.

And while there’s a tricky flavor combination, there’s also contrasting elements of texture (crunch the seeds and a different crunch from the cucumber) and temperature (hot, warm, cold).  Make sure your salmon is heated through and that your salad is cold, this makes the spicy sauce a delicious addition to an already busy plate.  Give this one a shot—it’s an easy way to ease into spring.

Sesame salmon with cucumber salad and wasabi-butter sauce

Serves 2

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 pinches granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • 2, 8-ounce skinless salmon steaks
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • As needed, olive oil
  • 2 fluid ounces white wine
  • 4 fluid ounces heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon wasabi powder
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch plus ½ teaspoon water, dissolved

1.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar and sesame oil until an emulsion is formed.  When vinaigrette is thick, add in seasonings and then cucumber.  Coat cucumber with vinaigrette and refrigerate until service.

2.  Place a large sauté over medium-high heat.  Add sesame seeds to a wide bowl or pan.  When sauté pan is hot, add a small amount of olive oil.  Place each salmon steak (skin-side up) in sesame seeds, coating one side of the fish, and then gently place in the sauté pan.  When sesame seeds begin to toast and become golden, carefully turn over to sear the opposite side of the fish.  Remove from pan and repeat with second steak.  Return both steaks to sauté pan, and place in 400 degree oven until salmon is cooked through (about 8 – 10 minutes).

3.  While salmon cooks, prepare sauce: in a small saucepan over medium heat, add wine and reduce by half; slowly whisk in heavy cream and gently bring to a simmer.  Whisk in wasabi powder and add in dissolved cornstarch mixture (called a slurry).  When sauce is thickened, remove from heat and, in batches, whisk in butter.  Adjust seasonings and set aside.

4.  Remove salmon from oven.  Add cucumber salad to each plate, and place salmon on top.  Serve with warm wasabi sauce.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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