Retreat to the kitchen.
….My favorite line from my new brother-in-law’s wedding toast, and damn good advice.
Not that today was anything tragic or particularly hard, but work is busy, days seem short and the weekend quickly slipped into the start of the next work week. Leaves are falling and summer flavors are fading.
While I love fall [and I even love the first 3 or so months of winter], there is something somber about warm, colorful life fading into grey, and that grey soon to be erased until there is just white.
Comfort food is what we have to look forward to. I’m as much of a comfort food fan as the next person, but it never has the same wonder and life as herbs going from deck to dish in under a minute, and veggies still dusty with the local ground. Comfort food is just that, a warm consolation hug telling you to hang in there until spring comes again.
I am fighting the greying of summer’s flavors with every trick in the book, and tonight’s dinner reflects that. These spicy salmon avocado rolls, served on a bed of white rice, with shiitake mushrooms and summer squashes stir fried with lots of toasted sesame are an amazing mix of bold flavors: spicy sriracha mayo, crunchy sesame seeds, fresh sauteed veggies, meaty mushrooms, cozy rice and a sweet and salty mirin & soy sauce reduction. This meal has it all, the flavors are a welcome retreat from sunday evening blues.
The prep may seem involved, but on our third attempt at this meal, we have it down to the time it takes to make the rice. So grab your favorite person with good knife skills, and get lost in the kitchen for a while; retreat from all of tomorrow’s worries and fight back against the hum drum flavors of winter.
This is truly one of our favorite meals, it is just impossible to get good pictures of it in our tiny, dark kitchen, but I promise the flavors will impress!
This meal was adapted from an appetizer recipe by Umami Holiday
- White Rice
- Fresh Salmon (or steelhead trout)
- Summer squash & zucchini
- Sesame Seeds, toasted
- 1/2 c. Mirin
- 1/2 c. Soy Sauce
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. mayo
- 1 egg yolk
- Sriracha to taste (2-3 Tablespoons)
Wash and start the rice on a back burner and preheat the oven on high broil. Slice the salmon fillet on a diagonal into very thin slices, approximately 5 inch long. A really sharp fillet knife is essential – Adam’s exceptional knife skills don’t hurt either!
I for one, do not have the patience for this part which is why we make a good team! That said, he makes it look easy, and it only takes him about as long to do this as it takes me to make the spicy mayo.
Wrap each salmon strip around a piece of avocado and stand on end in a baking dish; we use our cast iron pan. Prepare the spicy mayo by combining mayo, egg yolk and sriracha until orange and spicy! Dollop some on each salmon roll.
If using as an appetizer, you can separate them from each other by a few inches, otherwise we just stand them together to make it easier to add lots of spicy sauce. [If grouping them together, make sure the ones in the middle are cooked through.] Place in the oven about 6 inches from the broiler for only about 5 minutes. Turn off broiler and continue to cook until done. Only 3-4 more minutes (less if space in between). Should puff slightly and become golden brown on top.
For the mirin reduction: combine equal parts soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Stir slowly until bubbles/foam begin to form, then stir quickly and reduce the heat to low. Sauce should thicken to coat the back of a spoon. If not thickening, this sauce is pretty forgiving if you need to take it back up to temp and try again, just don’t leave it on high heat long because the sugar could burn. Set aside on low simmer.
Kate & Adam