Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Oh my lovely! Grilled salmon Asian salad

Whenever I have the privilege of having some fresh salmon fillets in my fridge, I always feel anxious. Such gorgeous pieces of meet, not cheap, are sitting there like diamonds in the rough. I can imagine how a jeweler feels with a priceless gem, wondering how best to cut it.

It being January, salad has not been on the menu for a long while, and even veggies have been hard to spot in our household lately. A healthy combination like spinach and salmon seemed to be in order (especially since our family is recovering from a series of colds and flus and could use some good vitamins).

I'm not a big salad fan, but let's just say this...I put some leftovers in a container to take for lunch the next day and they didn't make it past 8 PM.

And, to be honest, this is one of my FAVOURITE recipes that I've posted so far.

So here it is...


A couple handfuls of baby spinach
1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced
2 green onions thinly sliced
zest of 1/2 lime
1 finely chopped chili
small handful of chopped cilantro (or coriander if you're anywhere else except Canada and the US)
enoki mushrooms (lovely tiny mushrooms that go lovely in Asian salads)

Dress the salad with a good lug of sesame oil and the juice of the 1/2 lime. Oh groan. Just listing out the ingredients is making my mouth water. Good simply on it's own. However....

Grilled salmon:


1/4 soy sauce
1/4 brown sugar
2-3 tsp rice wine vinegar (mine expired, so I used white wine vinegar, and it still tasted great)

Taste the sauce to make sure you have a good balance of salty, sweet, and acidic.
Marinate the salmon fillets in the sauce. I did this while preparing the salad, so it was only about 10 minutes or so, but seemed to be sufficient.

On medium heat, add 1-2 TBSP of sesame oil with 1-2 TBSP of olive oil. Sesame oil gives the salmon a super flavour, but a) it burns quickly, so some olive oil is needed, and b) the flavour seems to burn off a bit, which is why I dressed the salad with sesame oil as well.

Grill the salmon fillets on medium. Pour any extra sauce over the fillets while you are grilling them. I HATE overdone salmon, so remember that your salmon fillets CAN be slightly pink in the middle (like a steak) without risk (CAVEAT: IF you get them at a good store. I'm not responsible for any food poisoning if you buy them half-rotten at a crap shop!). This makes the salmon so juicy and flaky, that it just falls apart in your mouth like melting butter. Wow.

Once the salmon is done, if you have any sticky sauce left in the pan, deglaze it with some lime juice and pour it over the fillets once you've placed them on the salad. A nice extra would be to sprinkle sesame seeds on the salmon, but I didn't think of it at the time. :(

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Pisto meets paella

Okay, so if you're Valencian, or even Spanish, my idea of "paella" might make you laugh, but I have it on the authority of numerous online recipes that chicken and chorizo paella is an actual thing. The Spanish would probably still be hesitant to dub it a paella mixta (mixed paella, rather than the traditional Valencian seafood paella), and even moreso given the fact that I have forgone the saffron and paprika (to be honest, that was just due to plain old forgetfulness!)

Nevertheless, at the same time that I was contemplating making my first paella, I was also researching other European recipes--rataouille, in specific. I've made the French vegetable dish before, but (most certainly because I did a poor job, and was not eating a dish made by a native of Nice), I felt something was lacking.

While researching ratatouille, I discovered that the Spaniards of La Mancha make a similar dish called pisto. There's not too much of a difference, except they frequently add poached or lightly fried eggs on top and manchego cheese.

Well, being North American, where our cuisine is all about fusing different cultural dishes together, I decided to make my own conflated dish called Pisto Paella. If you're Spanish, feel free to freak out in the comment box! I'm curious to find out what you think of this! Personally, although I did miss the saffron and paprika spices in the end, I quite loved it, and not only did it make a huge dish that will last for several days, it also provided me with a delicious spiced tomato vegetable soup! Quite an economical recipe.


1 package chorizo (remove the casing)
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 large can tomato sauce
3-4 skinned diced tomatoes
1 diced eggplant
2 diced zucchini
2 sliced red peppers
1 onion thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 chili (finely chopped)
1 cup coarsely chopped coriander
chicken stock
1 cup arborio rice

For the paella, sear the chorizo and chicken thighs in olive oil on medium-high heat. Put the meat in a stewing pot, then add half the tomato sauce and cover with chicken stock. Add the rice and put on low heat to simmer.

For the pisto, in a sautee pan, add some olive oil and then add the onions and garlic. Sautee until soft, but be careful not to burn the garlic. Once the onions are soft, add the rest of the veg. Then add the other half can of tomato sauce and a little chicken stock. Simmer till cooked, but not mushy.

Once the rice is tender and the meat is done, add the paella and pisto together in the stew pot. Drain excess liquid into a large tupperware container. Add some of the veg to the soup. You can store it in the fridge for a few days, or do what I did: divide it into meal sized containers and freeze for lunches. :)

Serve the pisto paella with a generous sprinkling of coarsely chopped coriander. And disfrute de su pisto paella!! Enjoy your pisto paella!