Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Vinaigrette

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Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Vinaigrette
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Prep Time 20min Cook Time 10min

Confused about cooking fish? Try this safe, fast and easy roasted salmon dish. Not sure if your kids are fish fans? Pacific wild-caught salmon can be found for a reasonable price at your local supermarket, so you can test this out without breaking the bank. High in omegas and low in contaminates, I tend to cover the pan with foil so clean-up is easy, too. Any leftover vinaigrette goes well on rice or as a dressing for pasta salad.

What you'll need

  • SALMON
  • 1 1-pound salmon fillet, with skin (ask for it in one piece, preferably "center cut" so it will be an even 1-inch thick)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • GINGER-CILANTRO VINAIGRETTE
  • 1 super-heaping tablespoon finely chopped (peeled) ginger root (about a 1-inch chunk)
  • 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packed cup clean and dry cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese fermented black beans (optional)
  • 2/3 cup canola oil, or another light-tasting and healthy vegetable oil (not olive)
Helpful Tip:

"Seasoned Rice Vinegar" is rice vinegar to which sugar and salt have been added, as for sushi. If you are using unseasoned rice vinegar, then add a teaspoon of salt and an extra two teaspoons of sugar to the recipe.

Notes:

Don't be put off by the optional ingredient, "Fermented Black Beans"! They add a funky je ne sais quoi to the sauce and can be found in Asian markets, or in the Chinese section of larger grocery stores. I use "Yiang Jiang (brand) Preserved Beans with Ginger", which is inexpensive, comes in a round yellow box, and is already fermented so it will keep forever.

How to make it

  1. Begin by marinating the fish: Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and run your fingers over it to feel for any bones, which you should yoink out with pliers. Now pour the soy sauce or tamari into a dish that will hold the salmon snuggly and place the fish flesh-side down in it. Cover, and leave at room temperature while you make the vinaigrette, up to a half hour or so.

  2. Make the vinaigrette: in a small pot on the stove (or in a bowl in the microwave), heat the vinegar and ginger together until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stick it in the freezer to steep and cool while you clean the cilantro and prepare the rest of your ingredients (if you need to skip this step, you can--but I think it enhances the overall gingery-ness of the dressing).

  3. When the vinegar/ginger mixture is cool, add it the bowl of your food processor along with the garlic, soy sauce or tamari, sugar, cilantro, and optional fermented black beans. Whir this mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula, until it looks quite blended and uniform. Now, with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil through the feed tube until it's all incorporated; this should take about 30 seconds of slow drizzling. Taste the vinaigrette: it should be pleasantly tart and just salty and sweet enough, or just add more of anything you like, to taste. Scrape it into a small bowl and cover while you cook the fish.

  4. Broil the salmon: Preheat the broiler, line a small, rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place the salmon on it, skin-side down. Slice up the butter and dot the surface of the fish with it, then broil close to the heat for around 10-12 minutes (more or less, depending on the thickness of the fish), until it is done to your liking. The salmon will brown and sizzle madly and the butter will blacken on the foil (fine), but if it seems like the fish is actually burning at any point, cover it loosely with foil for the remainder of its cooking time. Remember that the fish will continue to cook once you pull it out of the oven, and try your best not to overcook it: use a paring knife to peek at it--I take it out when it's still just slightly translucent at its center, but you may want it cooked a bit more.

  5. Serve the fish and pass the sauce around the table.

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