Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #7: Asian-Style Salmon
This is our seventh official cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. We picked this recipe because we hadn’t tried a fish recipe yet, and because we happened to have the corresponding TV episode saved on our DVR. (As before, we noticed that on the show Jamie does some things differently than the book. I’ll try to mention those as we go.) Historically I haven’t been a very big eater of fish, so these dishes are definitely going to be more challenging for me. This wasn’t my favorite of the Jamie meals we’ve made, but it did get me to eat a big piece of salmon… which is fairly momentous in our house.
Substitutions: Our salmon fillets were slightly bigger than the ones called for (250g instead of 180g), and the Snook had to remove the pin bones himself. (We didn’t count that as part of the cooking time.) He also had to spend a few minutes removing a few scales the fishmonger had missed. We had to settle for canned mango instead of fresh, and we used snow peas for the broth instead of sugar snap. We used some of the Snook’s duck stock instead of a stock cube.
Quick verdict: We both weren’t that impressed, to be honest. Personally, I thought this was my least favorite so far. We both rated it 8/10. It was somehow less than the sum of its parts for me. The Snook thought the dessert was “kinda meh.” Our elapsed time was 39:59, but a lot of that was extra fish prep time. (Twenty minutes had elapsed before we got it into the oven.) Read on for a photo essay of the preparation.Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels… including our new food processor! The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. The oven was turned on with a fry pan, pot, and baking dish ready to go.
First up are the ingredients for the salmon: ginger, garlic, red onion, chilli, soy sauce, limes, salmon fillets, and Chinese five-spice.
Next the ingredients for the salad: coriander, beansprouts, cashews, honey, chilli, mango, soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime.
Broth ingredients: spring onions, chillies, garlic, ginger, Chinese five-spice, cornflour, stock, snow peas, soy sauce, noodles.
Lastly, the dessert ingredients: blueberries, canned lychees, sesame snaps, vanilla ice cream, and mint.
Pots and pans! The big pot is for the broth. The frying pan is for the cashews. The baking dish is for the fish. (That one was actually too small; we ended up swapping it for a bigger one when it came time to actually put the fish in it.)
Behold our lovely new Magimix. It’s lovely. (Also note the Snook’s beer.)
The first step in the fish prep was mixing up the sauce. Here’s the Snook combining ginger, garlic, onion, chilli, soy sauce, and lime juice in the Magimix.
And here’s the whizzed up result…
Meanwhile, I got on with the salad. Here I’ve combined the beansprouts and coriander.
This is a step from the TV show. Jamie made shallow cuts through the thick part of the salmon before rubbing in the spices. (The cookbook just has you sprinkle the spices on without cutting.) The Snook opted to cut.
Here are the four salmon pieces in the (bigger) oven dish. They’re laid on top of the sauce and then sprinkled with five-spice and pepper. Now they go into a hot oven for 18 minutes!
In the cookbook, Jamie has you bash up the cashews in a tea towel before toasting. He didn’t do it on the show, but I went for it anyway. (I like bashing things.) Frankly I wouldn’t bother next time though, as it mostly resulted in 50% whole cashews and 50% powder. These went into the pan with some olive oil.
Now that the fish is in the oven, we got started on the broth. Spring onions, garlic, and chilli go into the pot. Here’s me grating in some ginger.
Here the Snook has added cornflour and stock, along with some sliced coriander stem. (That was on the show but not in the book.)
Oh hey, my cashews are toasted! Actually they’re partially burnt. Interestingly, the ones on the show looked the same, so I figured it was okay.
Back in Salad-ville, I’ve added fresh chilli and sliced mango.
The cashews are drizzled with honey…
…before being added to the salad. The salad was then dressed with olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh lime juice to finish!
The final step for the broth is to add the snow peas and noodles.
For the dessert, it’s back to bashing. Here’s the Snook whacking up the sesame snaps in a tea towel.
The rest of the dessert prep was absurdly easy. I dumped the lychees in a bowl along with the blueberries (a handful of which I sliced in half). A few springs of mint finished it off.
Here’s the finished salmon after 18 minutes of baking. We garnished it with some coriander leaves.
The final meal. We weren’t quite sure how to serve it up, to be honest. We went with a large bowl with the salmon resting on top of some noodle broth. Then we served the beansprout salad on the side.
And the dessert: ice cream with spooned-over fruit and crushed sesame snaps.
Tasting notes: The Snook thinks the salmon was a little overcooked. This was surprising to me since we followed the instructions exactly (and had slightly larger pieces of fish). I’ll defer to his judgement on that though. It was definitely moist and flaky, and the skin was nicely crispy. (I did try a small bit of it.) The sauce was good, but I would’ve liked to have more of it. Our snow peas were limp, but the recipe’s sugar snap peas probably would have held up better. I liked the broth, but the Snook thought it had too much five-spice. We both liked the salad but thought it would have been better with fresh mango (to be more tart than sweet). The dessert was, as the Snook said, “meh.” Neither of us like canned lychees very much, and he thinks cooked blueberries are preferable to fresh. So overall it was fine, we ate it… but I’m not putting it on the automatic-repeat list.
Stay tuned next week for another recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals!