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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, December 08, 2006

Salmon & noodles with mirin dressing....dinner in 15 minutes

I've finally got around to reading the December issue of Donna Hay magazine. It only arrived about 3 weeks ago, and it's not like I have many other pressing concerns stopping me from reading it! But while lazing about in the swimming pool a few days ago, Donna Hay in my wet hands, I noticed a '10 meals in 10 minutes' section about noodles. I don't eat a lot of noodles or pasta, but I do make an exception for soba noodles, which are made primarily of buckwheat (well, should be all buckwheat, but we're talking the ones you buy in supermarkets here!).
I also like salmon and am trying to eat more of it, in place of the red meat I love. It's so easy to throw a steak on the grill, with a few veggies or salad and have dinner ready in 10 minutes. Much quicker than pasta! This meal promised to be ready in 10 minutes, and featured Japanese flavours and salmon; all good things, especially in this sunny Melbourne summer.
It was a quick meal; probably more 15 minutes than 10, and I was very impressed. I made a few changes, in typical style:
-Didn't have soba noodles, but had something similar called 'multigrain noodles'. They also cook very quickly and have similar texture. They had them in the local Asian grocery and I was curious. They're good, but soba are better.
-I doubled the amount of sesame seeds, and toasted them for a minute or so. I wouldn't usually bother doing that, but now realise the difference it makes. Yum!
-Didn't bother taking off the salmon skin, cos I love it. Yes, it makes it fattier, but it's the fish equivalent of pork cracking! Mmmm.....pork crackling...
-Going to the cupboards for mirin, I discovered the bottle I had was no longer there. Hmmmm. Did a bit of Googling, and discovered a substitute for mirin is sake mixed with sugar. I thought that worked really well; for the 4 tablespoons of mirin in the recipe, I used 4 tablespoons of sake and 1.5 tablespoons caster sugar. I'd reduce that to 1 tablespoon in the future, but I don't like things too sweet.

Tastewise, this has a great combination of sweet, tangy and salty. I prefer salt to sweet, so would skew things in that direction a bit more next time. I'd also take my salmon off the grill earlier. I tend to undercook or overcook salmon; one day I'll get it right!!
Don't be tempted to skip the pickled ginger; it really makes the dish. My packet cost about $2 from a random Asian grocery store in Preston. It's easy stuff to find.
Read on for the recipe:

Salmon & soba noodles with mirin dressing
Enough for 2 (or 1 dinner, one lunch for work)

300g (10 oz) dried soba noodles
vegetable oil for brushing
2 x 150g salmon fillets, skin removed (I used 1 large fillet, skin on)
1/4 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
salt & cracked pepper
Mirin dressing:
2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons chopped pickled ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons mirin
salt & cracked pepper

Mirin dressing: Place sesame seeds, ginger, soy, lemon, mirin, salt & pepper in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside;

Place noodles in a medium saucepan of boiling water and cook until ready. Soba noodles are quick, and should take about 3-5 minutes. Drain and set aside;
Brush the salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Heat a medium saucepan and cook salmon to your liking;
Place the noodles and half the mirin dressing in a bowl and toss to coat. Divide the noodles between bowls and top with the salmon, coriander and remainder of the dressing to serve.

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  • Mmmm that looks good. It's great to see something light and healthy, i seem to be drowning in stodgy xmas recipes right now :)

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