This meal has all the hallmarks of great go-to weekday meal: quick, simple, healthy, uses 1 baking dish and one pot, and is knock-your-socks-off delicious. You can stop at the grocery store on the way home, and an hour later, be eating dinner. This recipe was inspired by my friend Zach, who many years ago in college told me about his favorite way to make salmon. It was ridiculously simple (3 ingredients: salmon, soy sauce and brown sugar) and it was phenomenal. Since then I have built on his recipe, done it on the grill, in pans, and in the oven, and have arrived at what I think is my favorite iteration of the dish. The majority of the ingredients are “pantry items”, so usually all I have to buy is fish and fresh veggies:
Spicy Asian Salmon over Rice (serves 2)
- 3/4 lb salmon filet or steak
- 1 cup rice (your choice, I like jasmine)
- 4 T soy sauce
- 4 T brown sugar
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T sesame seeds
- 1 T vinegar
- 2 shallots, minced (or 1/2 an onion)
- 1-2 serrano peppers, minced (use one for medium heat, 2 for spicy! Can substitute jalapeno if you can’t find serrano)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of black pepper
- vegetables of your choice (I used mini carrots, but snap peas, broccoli, water chestnuts…all will work)
Preheat the oven to 350, and bring water to a boil for the rice (according to the cooking instructions). I usually add a little salt and a pat of butter to my rice (just to make a very healthy grain less healthy, but tastier).
Mix the soy, brown sugar, sesame and olive oils, vinegar, black pepper, and minced pepper, shallots, and garlic together to make the marinade. Score the skin-side of the fish (if using a filet) with a cris-cross pattern. In a baking dish place the fish skin side up, and pour the marinade over the top. Lift the fish so that marinade gets underneath, and be sure to fill the cris-crosses on the fish with marinade and chunks of garlic, pepper, and scallions. Next, nestle the vegetables in around the fish (or all to one side) and spoon marinade over the top of them. This can be done 1-2 hours ahead (refrigerate the fish until ready) or you can pop it in the oven immediately.
When ready to cook, add the rice to the boiling water and cook the fish for 30 minutes.
To serve, portion out the rice into bowls, divide the salmon and vegetables, and ladle sauce over the top.