If you’ve been following this blog for a little while, you know by now that salmon was the first fish our kids ate. Which was fine by us — it was healthy, flavorful, and one of the few foods (in general) that we could all eat the exact same way at the dinner table. So we ate a lot of it. A lot of it. With yogurt-mustard-dill sauce, with hoisin glaze, mixed into salmon salads and salmon-rice bowls. At Japanese restaurants, I’d watch with both pride and horror as Phoebe would peel off the salmon from my sushi with her fingers then dangle piece after piece into her mouth. We have eaten so much of the omega-3 powerhouse in fact, that on Sunday Andy found his heart sinking a little at the fish counter when Phoebe pointed definitively at the wild salmon filets. Her choice for dinner.
What was he going to do, say no? No, he wasn’t. So he also picked up some coconut milk and lemongrass — ingredients that are not regularly in our pantry — and got motivated to make something that was different than any other salmon we’ve eaten. And he did. Browning the salmon in a skillet then letting it finish cooking in a pool of aromatic coconut milk gave the fish the most delicate texture — almost like it was poached. Goes without saying that we will be eating it again soon.
Salt and pepper a 1 1/2-pound salmon filet. Heat skillet to medium-high heat and add a little canola oil. Place salmon in skillet flesh side down and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 1 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass (from the white part of the stalk) and 1 tablespoon chopped scallions and stir around for one minute. Then add 2/3 of a (14-ounce) can of light coconut milk a generous squeeze of lime, and 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (to taste). Whisk together and let simmer for five minutes. Add salmon back in, skin-side down, nestle into the sauce. Simmer (uncovered) for 10 minutes, then add a handful of each of the following: chopped green beans, chopped yellow peppers, chopped shiitake mushrooms. Simmer another 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped basil. Cook another 5 minutes. Serve with jasmine rice, more cilantro, scallions, and a squeeze of lime.