Here’s one thing I rarely cook or eat: salmon. Now, salmon is a perfectly good fish but I think I’ve been traumatized with the way they prepare it at weddings. Salmon is like shrimp: a few minutes too much and it’s overcooked, dry and devoid of taste. But I haven’t given up on it. I know that just like any other fish, it will taste good if cooked properly. Besides, after devouring a lot of smoked salmon while I was in Vancouver, I knew I had to play with it some more in the kitchen.
It’s July 4th and corn should be on everyone’s grills this weekend, but they’re more expensive this year because of flooding in the Midwest and drought in the South. According to the Des Moines Register, the corn will come eventually, but maybe not for a few weeks. For now, we all have to eat corn from Georgia and Florida.
This recipe requires a tamarind concentrate you can buy from your Asian market. If you have access to fresh and ripe tamarinds, all you have to do is soak them in hot water to soften them. Put the pulp through a sieve to extract the juice, discarding skins, seeds and fibers.
4 salmon fillets, patted dry with a paper towel
4 ears of fresh corn, skin and silk peeled off
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
half a red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of tamarind concentrate
2 tbsps brown sugar
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps fish sauce
a splash of sherry vinegar
1 red chile, seeded, chopped
juice of half a lime
oil, salt, pepper
1. Make the tamarind glaze. In a small bowl, mix the tamarind concentrate (or extracted juice if using real tamarinds) with the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile, and lime juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
2. Rub the flesh side of the salmon with salt and pepper the brush the glaze over them. Store in the fridge until ready to cook.
3. In the meantime, assemble the corn salad. Using a sharp knife, cut off the corn kernels from the cob and into a salad bowl. Toss with the cilantro, red bell pepper, red onion, lime juice and sherry vinegar. Feel free to adjust the liquids according to your taste.
4. Cook the fish. Heat a nonstick skillet with some oil over medium-high fire. When oil is smoking just a tad bit, gently place the salmon skin side down. Let them cook for 5 minutes without moving them to get a crispy skin. Using a heat-resistant spatula, turn the salmon over and cook the flesh side with tamarind glaze for an extra 3 minutes. Brush the skin side with leftover glaze. Carefully remove to a plate and serve with some of the corn salad.