Recipe – Miso salmon, pickled carrots & Szechuan black vinegar dressing

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Now that many of us are either working from home, on a leave of absence from work or finding ourselves in varying employment (or unemployment) scenarios, I will take this opportunity to regularly share recipes of the dishes I post on Instagram.

In what now seems to be a previous life, I had the opportunity to work as a chef for some of the largest airlines in the world; I was preparing meals for First and Business Class travellers. As many of us are stuck at home (no thanks to the on-going pandemic), I invite you to embark on a culinary journey with me and explore meals inspired by the diverse influences and fond memories of fellow chefs I have had the pleasure of working with and be inspired by.

Today we will look at a Japanese influenced and inspired dish utilising a fusion pickle that burrows on the basic principles of kimchi but laced with Chinese elements (think Sichuan peppercorns and Chinese black vinegar). Individual elements are the miso marinate, oven-baked salmon fillet, pickle salad and a bright zingy dressing.

Miso marinate 

  • 250gm miso,
  • 100gm brown sugar,
  • 50 ml light soya sauce ,
  • 50ml japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 200ml of mirin (or sake in a pinch)

Salmon fillets

  • 4 side of salmon fillets skin on, coated with the above marinate for 30 mins to 1 hour

For the salmon fillets, line a baking tray with some foil and place the fillets skin side down on the tray with the marinate. Preheat the oven to 160°C and bake for 15 minutes, spooning over some of the marinate as it begins to form a sticky glaze half way through the baking.

Pickled salad

Now onto the pickled vegetable salad – you can use any of the following vegetables (these are great for pickling): carrots, daikon, radish, thin shavings of zucchini, cabbage etc..

Be sure to shave the vegetables thinly (I like to use a mandolin to ensure an even cut) and salt them for 30 minutes to draw out the excess water. After that, rinse well to remove the salt and squeeze them gently.

Now, it’s time to make a quick pickle. My preferred pickling ratio is 500gm Japanese rice wine vinegar to 200gm sugar, heated gently until the sugar has dissolved and tossed together with the pickled vegetables. Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Dressing

I like to add a bit of electric zing to this dish by using some Szechuan peppercorns, Chinese black vinegar and some lemon juice mixed with olive oil.

  • 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 pc long red chilli dehydrated
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup , fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 50ml chinese black vinegar
  • Some olive oil to finish

In a saucepan, toast your dry spices till fragrant and add in your sesame oil. Reduce the temperature to low and infuse for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the oil to become infused with the aromatics for a further 30 minutes.

When the oil has cooled, whisk in the remaining ingredients and taste (and adjust) for balance.

There you have it – now just toss your pickled vegetables on a plate with your glazed baked salmon. Dress with some pea sprouts or some baby romaine lettuce hearts, drizzle over the Szechuan dressing and enjoy.

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