Recipe of the Month: Spicy Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

June 30, 2013

Salmon Photo

Spicy Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Varietal: Pinot Gris

Serves 12 as an appetizer, 6 to 8 as an entrée

By curing a side of salmon overnight in a marinade brimming with freshly ground spices and a touch of liquid smoke, then cooking the fish in a low oven, the pink flesh becomes meltingly tender and flavorful, with a taste similar to smoked salmon. Best of all, you don’t even need a stovetop or outdoor smoker! And while some people consider it difficult to pair wines with smoked seafood, the spices in this dish make that task a bit easier. The intriguing combination of warm spices, including star anise, allspice, cinnamon, and coriander, cries out for an aromatic wine with lots of fruit. I’d opt for Pinot Gris, the irrepressibly food-friendly wine from Oregon. Medium-bodied, dry, and lightly acidic, Pinot Gris pairs perfectly with so many preparations of fish, shellfish, poultry, and pork. Look for citrus, honey, and spice notes on the nose and in the mouth, and serve it slightly chilled. This recipe is tried and true, having appeared in both editions of the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook. Leftovers (if there are any!) would be a lovely addition to a summer picnic basket.

1 tablespoon Salmon Spice Mix (Recipe follows)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil or sesame oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 side of salmon, filleted and boned, with skin (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Freshly ground white pepper

Wasabi Dipping Sauce (Recipe follows)

Place Salmon Spice Mix, soy sauce, mirin, sake, rice vinegar, canola oil, maple syrup, liquid smoke, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small nonreactive bowl with a lid and mix until well blended.

Place a piece of plastic wrap lengthwise on a baking sheet, allowing 8 inches of extra wrap at each end to cover the salmon. Place salmon on the plastic wrap, skin side down. Spoon half the marinade over salmon and rub into the flesh. Turn the salmon over and cover completely with plastic wrap. Place the salmon and leftover marinade in the refrigerator overnight.

One hour before cooking, remove the salmon and the remaining marinade from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Ten minutes before cooking, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place a rack large enough to hold the fish on a baking sheet and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

When the oven is hot, place the salmon on the rack, skin side down. Pour half of the remaining marinade onto the salmon, patting in gently.

Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and roast the salmon for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from the oven and cover with the remaining marinade. Return salmon to the oven for 30 to 45 minutes more, or until opaque throughout and golden brown in color.

To serve, remove the skin (if desired), and place the fish on a serving platter. Sprinkle lightly with white pepper and pass the Wasabi Dipping Sauce at the table.

Salmon Spice Mix

1 whole star anise

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

4 whole allspice berries

1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken into several pieces

Place all of the ingredients in a spice mill or small, clean electric coffee grinder and process until very finely ground. Pour the spices into a small nonreactive bowl or jar with a lid, cover and set aside.

Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Makes about 1/4 cup

1 tablespoon wasabi powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons honey mustard

Stir together all of the ingredients in a small nonreactive bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe reprinted with permission from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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