At our home, Monday nights are almost always fish nights. We tend to crave something healthy and easy to prepare at the beginning of the week. Salmon is one of my favorite ingredients because it’s a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, it’s quick, easy to cook, and very versatile. I decided to infuse some Asian flavors into the fish dish, so I selected a few of my favorite vegetables and seasonings to make Atlantic salmon with citrus soy glaze.
There are many ways to prepare salmon; grill, broil, poach, bake, and so on. However, tonight I was in the mood for a nice a crispy skin, so I grabbed my saute pan.
I like a little crunch…
The key to a nice and crispy skin on your fish is to make sure the surface is dry; moisture is the enemy. The next step is to make sure to heat the pan with about 1/8 inch of oil over medium heat, then the oil will be nice and hot so the skin will fry instead of boil. You can tell the oil is ready when you start to see the oil slightly move and you can feel the heat above the pan. If the pan it too hot, the oil will smoke and your product will darken too quickly. When the temperature is right, the oil sizzles softly and the bubbles from the moisture releasing can be seen. Make sure to gently press down on the surface of the fillet with a fish spatula immediately after it enters the pan; this prevent moisture pockets from being trapped and causing a soggy skin.
salmon frying in a pan
After about 3 to 4 minutes in the pan over medium heat, the fillets are turned over and seared briefly. The skin should be crispy and the top and edges of the fish a nice golden brown. I like my fish medium rare, so I only cook the fish for another minute or two.
As the fish is continuing to cook on the other side, I like to coat the fish with the oil from the pan to add a little extra texture and crispiness to the skin. This method is called poêlé; by tilting the pan slightly towards you to easily scoop the oil, then rhythmically pouring the hot oil over the fish helps to add texture and completes the cooking. My instructor in culinary school recommended us to add butter to the pan to enhance the flavor, yum!
At the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market, I picked up some beautiful trumpet mushrooms from Mountain Meadow Mushrooms. This variety is meaty in texture, and I thought it would be nice to saute the slices of mushroom until golden brown on each side and simply season with salt and pepper.
Atlantic Salmon with Citrus Soy Glaze
For the Fish:
- 2- 6 ounce salmon fillets
- Vegetable oil
For the Glaze:
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon soy sauce
For the Salad:
- 1/2 cup cucumber
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1/2 cup fennel
For the Salad Dressing:
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon grape seed oil
- Sesame oil
For the Mushrooms:
- 2 trumpet mushrooms
- For the citrus soy glaze: Place the fresh orange juice in a small saucepan and slowly reduce over medium heat to a thick glaze similar to a maple syrup, about 1/3 of a cup. Make sure to constantly check as the reduction will creep up on you! Set aside.
- For the salad garnish: Thinly julienne 1/2 cup of each; cucumber, red bell pepper and carrots. Thinly shave 1/2 of fennel. Combine and set aside.
- For the salad dressing: Whisk together; 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp grape seed oil and a tiny drop of sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- For the salmon fillets: Heat approximately 1/8 inch of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Make sure the fish is dry, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the salmon fillets skin side down to the hot pan, immediately press down with a spatula, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (the fish should be easily released from the pan with only a little help from the spatula). Press down occasionally on the fillet to help the skin brown and crisp.
- Flip the salmon fillets and briefly cook the other side, poêlé for a few seconds (coat fish with hot oil), then remove from pan. Make sure to soak up some of the excess oil with paper towels.
- For the Mushrooms: Heat a saute pan with a thin layer of oil. Add the mushrooms and cook each side until tender and golden around the edges, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Finish the citrus soy glaze by simmering the orange reduction, then add small pieces of the butter to the saucepan, and whisk in the butter until incorporated, then add the soy sauce.
- To serve: Add about 3 teaspoons of the citrus soy glaze to the center of the plate. Place 4 to 5 slices of the mushrooms on top of the sauce in a circle pattern, add the fish fillet on top of the mushrooms. Make a small bundle of the vegetables, then place on top of the fish. Drizzle some of the dressing on top of the salad. Garnish with sesame seeds and micro greens if available.
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