Monday, May 18, 2009

Lunch Week 10: Miso Marinated Salmon

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Miso marinated salmon with bok choy and somen noodles. I wanted to have something Asian for lunch this week. And miso came into my mind right away. At first, I thought miso ramen. But that's quite difficult to transcribe into a bagged lunch for a week. So instead, I was inspired by a recipe on the Food Network channel. Miso glazed salmon. I opted out of the glazing (broiler) and went to pan searing instead. A quick search on the internet gave me several great recipes. I paired the salmon with some Japanese somen noodles. They're made from buckwheat. They have a nuttier taste. Its heartiness will work well with the fish. And for vegetables, I went to the easy bok choy. First, I marinated the salmon. I used a mixture of miso, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. No salt needed here. The marinade will be salty enough. Try to only marinate for an hour maximum. These ingredients can easily overpower the delicate fish. After an hour, try to scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. It burns easily when cooked. Next, I pan sear it until browned on both sides and fully cooked in the middle. The cooking time really depends on the size of your fish. I had 5 minutes on one side, and 3 minutes on the other. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Salt. And cook the somen like any pasta. However, they only require about 5 minutes to cook. After the noodles are cooked, rinse them off in a cold bath. I do this because I'll be serving them without any sauce. If you're eating it right away, toss it in whatever sauce you've prepared. Lastly, the bok choy. First, take the individual leaves and stems off the middle. I don't like the middle core so I toss it. Next, wash the vegetables generously. There can be a lot of sand and dirt on it. Usually, I vigorously wash the vegetables 3 times. But instead, you can soak them in cold water for about 30 minutes. With this method, the sand and dirt becomes heavy and falls to the bottom on the sink or bowl. It's called the lazy man's way. But it works! While the bok choy is soaking, I cut up some scallions, ginger, and garlic. When everything is prepared, I first cook the ginger and garlic in oil. Then I add the bok choy. Salt on top. Cover. The steam will help wilt everything. It's always good to buy more than you think you can eat. With everything wilted, it doesn't turn out to be much. When everything is wilted, I add the scallions. Cook for a couple more minutes to fully soften the stems. With everything pieced together, this is a great complete and light lunch. The salmon is salty, sweet, and so flavorful. To tone things down, the somen is slightly nutty. The bok choy is sweet and adds texture where the others lack. There are no heavy sauces or meats here. Just plain, clean, Asian flavors.

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