I’ve been here in Ashland less than 4 months, and I’m still going crazy over the foods we can buy here!
Today I was browsing through Shop ‘n Cart’s fish section and saw a good buy in wild Alaskan salmon. This store has the other ingredients I needed, as well. Here they are:
The salmon fillet; San-J organic shoyu (my friend in Japan is surprised how good this American brand is!); mirin (a sweet, non-alcoholic rice wine); frozen (or fresh) shiitake mushrooms; and a packaged, dried seaweed, such as wakame, my choice for this meal. Nori is good, too.
Start some short- or medium-grained (brown, my suggestion) rice boiling; this is more authentic than long-grained, for a Japanese dish.
Twenty minutes before serving dinner, heat sesame (or other) oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Sear the salmon on the flesh side first, then turn over to the skin side and let it brown slightly before adding the liquids.
Now cover the bottom of the pan with shoyu and add half that amount of mirin. Pour in enough water to keep the liquids from burning (oh, say a splash to a quarter cup). You can correct the flavor near the end, to your taste, balancing the salty shoyu with the sweet mirin. Pour on top of all the sliced shiitake; how much? just what looks good to you. It adds flavor and a different texture to the finished dish. Sprinkle broken up seaweed on top of the fish; it’ll absorb moisture and soften, adding color and saltiness. Cover the pan and finish cooking, just till done in the thickest part of the filet.
I served the fish on a bed of chopped raw spinach, scooped rice on the side and covered both with the sauce from the pan.
I’m still licking my lips and savoring the flavors I so happily associate with Japan.