Real Food for Real Life

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot and cold on a summer day...

Spicy Honey Ginger Salmon a bed of whole grain brown and wild rice, with a cooling side of Creamy Cucumber Salad

I was in the mood for salmon, but not just any salmon. I wanted some of the sweet and spicy Asian flavors that I love so well.  This would be easy enough to accomplish with a few ingredients and a quick trip under the broiler...perfect food in that it is simple, quick, and delicious.  But what to serve with it?  Earlier in the week I had been making the vinegar based cucumber salad that Christopher loves so much when Ben reminded me that he like sour cream based cucumber salads too.  This was it.  The cool creaminess would be the perfect foil to the sweet spiciness of the fish, and as cucumber becomes somewhat crisp when salted and drained, it would be a wonderful textural foil as well (and it was, on both counts :).

Spicy Honey Ginger Salmon

1 lb. skinless salmon fillets
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. ground ginger (not powdered)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
large pinch of coarse salt

Mix the honey, soy sauce, ginger, pepper flakes, and salt in a small bowl.  If you have the time, prepare this earlier in the day and just let it sit on the counter to marry the flavors; you may also wish to use a smaller amount of pepper flakes if you don't like things quite so spicy.  About 1/2 hour before dining, line a heavy weight baking sheet with foil (easy cleanup).  Place the fillets on the foil and spoon some of the marinade over each, turning the fillets for even coverage on both sides; let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes while you preheat the broiler.  Broil for 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness, until nicely browned and just cooked through- be careful not to overcook.  The honey in the marinade will burn on the foil, but not affect the salmon.  Serve the salmon, spooning over any marinade you may have left.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers
salt (table salt is good here)
1 small vidalia onion (or other sweet onion)
1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
fresh ground black pepper

Peel the cucumbers if they have a thick or waxy skin, otherwise, don't bother.  Slice thinly and layer in a colander in the sink, salting the layers as you proceed; leave them here for 2 hours or so. 

Peel the onion and quarter lengthwise, slice thinly.  Combine the onion with the sour cream and a generous grinding of black pepper.  Take as handful of cucumber slices and squeeze as much liquid out as possible before dropping them in the bowl of sour cream.  proceed until all the cucumber has been squeezed dry and added to the sour cream.  Stir to combine well and taste to see if you want more pepper (I did); chill until ready to serve.  Any leftovers may accumulate some liquid on top during storage...just pour this off and enjoy your even crunchier cucumbers.

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