Cook-a-long Caramel Salmon with Miso pickled vegetables
I first cooked this Bill Granger Caramel Salmon recipe many years ago for a valentines meal and although it was a successful effort, young children's taste meant it was removed from my repertoire for quite some time. However, it's now back with a vengeance (probably due to the sugar in the recipe!) and the pickled vegetables create the acidity to cut through the sweetness of the salmon. The addition of miso paste provides another level of flavour to the veg.
For the Caramel Salmon
1x Salmon fillet per person, skin on (or about 150g per person)
(you can use 100g Chicken breast or Tofu instead, per person)
3xTbps soy sauce
100g dark sugar
1x red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3xTbps fish sauce (if you are vegetarian or a vegan, you can leave this out if you can’t get hold of any vegan or vegetarian fish sauce as a replacement)
2xTbps lime juice
veg oil to cook in
For the Miso pickled veg
1x Tbps miso paste (can be red or white miso)
2x Tbps rice vinegar (white wine vinegar can be substituted here)
1xTbps caster sugar or Mirin
1xTbps sake (optional)
1xTbps grated ginger (optional)
1x crushed garlic clove (optional)
Mix of veg, carrots, radishes, fennel, cucumber (choice is yours)
Big pan for salmon/chicken/tofu
Medium pan for rice
Medium bowl for veg
Grater or mandolin
Sharp knife for chopping
Serve with rice, cold lager/cold sake/Chablis
It's best to make the pickled veg first, so the vegetables have time to pickle. You can even do this a day or two before. Thinly slice the vegetables you have, and if you're using fennel, a mandolin is best unless your knife skills are such you can get very fine. If you use cucumber, I'd recommend deseeding it, so it doesn't dilute the pickling juice too much. Otherwise, slice as you like, diagonally lengthwise or whichever way you fancy on the day.
Mix all the other ingredients for the pickled veg together and add the slice vegetables. Mix it all together thoroughly and set aside in the serving bowl.
If you're serving with rice, get your pan of water on now.
Cut your Salmon fillets into approximately inch cubes, put the big pan on a high heat and add the oil. Once the oil has heated up (a couple of minutes), add the salmon cubes skinside down and then turn the heat to low/medium.
Put your rice in the boiling water.
Check the salmon cubes after about 3-4 minutes. You want a crispy skin on the bottom. Once it's crispy, turn the cubes over for another 3-4 minutes.
Once the salmon is mostly done (a little underdone is best at this stage, as it will be going back in the pan to cook some more), remove from the pan and set aside in a separate bowl or plate.
If you think you need it, add a little more oil to the salmon pan, then add the sliced onion, followed a couple of minutes later by the garlic.
About 3-4 minutes after the garlic has been added, you should have browned alliums, to which you can add the sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and lime juice.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add the salmon back to the pan and spoon over the sauce, so the cubes are coated.
Serve with the rice, pickled veg and your sake/lager/chablis!
My fellow chef's efforts as as below!