This week I chose to make salmon. I really didn’t want to the just call it “Salmon” cause thats boring, but I couldn’t figure out how else to title this post without sounding too silly and I had to come up with something. When I think about making & eating this salmon all that comes to mind is cast iron skillets and chopsticks. Random, I know. Cast iron skillets because that’s what I always make it in. Same ones I used for the focaccia a few weeks ago. And chopsticks… because I shared this dish many memorable times this summer with my main squeeze, Mr. Travis Young ;)
Prior to this wonderful man and crazy dope photographer coming into my life I ate nothing with chopsticks… because I was t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. at it. For real, my 4 year old niece could use them better. Seriously.
After spending more and more time with Travis I quickly realized that this really needed to change. I had tried, failed, and quickly resorted to a fork too many times. I was embarrassed of my lack of skills with the ‘sticks and I was huuuunngry. So I opened up the package of chopsticks he bought me for Christmas and went at it. Alone. In my apartment. By myself. For weeks everything I consumed I attempted eating with chopsticks. Ramen, Mac & Cheese, scrambled eggs, cut up apple, you name it, I tried it. It was pretty pathetic and I’m sure Nico got a doggy laugh or two out of me, but nobody else did from then on and that’s what matters! Practice makes perfect, right? Okay, maybe not perfect BUT I’m proud to say that when I met his parents for the first time they were impressed with my chopstick-ing abilities. PHEW. ;)
Anyway, over the past summer Travis and I shared this salmon recipe more than a few times. The first time I remember thinking, “I’ve never eaten salmon with chopsticks before” and by the third or fourth time I realized “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat it any other way.” All in all… Chopstick Salmon! Like it or hate it, that’s what it is to me and that’s what I’m calling it.
Per usual, this one’s simple. But first thing’s first: buying salmon. I’m not sure when, but somewhere along the line I realized one day at the grocery store that the salmon I was about to buy, and most likely had been buying for years, was marked with fine print at the bottom of the label, “Color Added.” I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before and I quickly put it back in search of something else, anything else that didn’t include added color. I don’t want to make too big of a deal about it, but I REALLY don’t like the sound of that. What’s the point of adding color to fish and meat products? To make them look more fresh? To make it seem as though it hasn’t been sitting in a cold-ish case for way too long? To make it appear it’s not past it’s prime? I know I’m buying fish in Kansas and I’m not an expert or anything, but why can’t I just get the product for what it is? Is it purely for aesthetics? I’m not too entirely sure why this is necessary, but the idea of it just doesn’t sit well with me. If the fish/meat I purchase needs added color to make it look more appetizing, I’ll pass.
Moral of the story is that I am now much more cautious. Where I tend to shop I have found that all the salmon apparently has “color added,” however I’m almost always able to find a trout that looks and tastes very similar minus the whole extra color thing.
So, I do a marinade that is a derivative of something I grew up watching my mom make.
I’ve learned to keep a jar of freshly pureed raw garlic and ginger in the fridge. It’s a fragrant combo that I use often! A little brown sugar, olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a little soy sauce.
Sesame oil and rice vinegar, as well as the soy sauce, are all good things to buy at an asian market. Wayyy cheaper! It’s worth waiting to make the trip there to stock up. For all you KC/Lawrence area peeps, there’s one at 119th & 69 Hwy called 888 International Market! And one coming soon in Lawrence on 9th Street! Check ’em out. You’ll be happy you did.
Marinade time should be 30 minutes minimum.
As I mentioned before, I really like using a cast iron skillet. A baking sheet and parchment paper or aluminum foil is always good. I would note though, that something with edges is preferable as to not make a mess of your oven. A little green onion and a lot of rice and that’s that.
Chopstick Salmon <3