I was recently approached by Pure Food Fish Market to share a seafood recipe to be displayed on their website. It might sound like a easy task but my dilemma was that their products are so delicious on their own that anything overly complicated would mask the flavor and anything too simple would be boring and probably not that original. I usually have productive brainstorming sessions about 30 minutes before I fall asleep so I put this on my brainstorming to-do list for the evening.
Around midnight I came to bed exhausted but full of endorphines after 3 hours of West Coast Swing dancing. My thoughts drifted between concocting a cool new skating-like spin on the dance floor to a Copper River Salmon recipe that would inspire but not detract from the fish. My close girlfriend just came back from another fabulous trip eating at the top restaurants in Europe. She couldn’t stop talking about about a lemongrass beurre blanc sauce that clearly changed her culinary life. Since this was fresh in my mind I started dreaming up flavors that would elicit a citrus, sweet asian-fusion explosion while also complementing the natural flavors of the salmon. Soon I drifted off to sleep…
In the morning, my starving stomach required me to exit the bed and fix breakfast. I opened the fridge only to be reminded of a recent problem that has surfaced. A month ago I spent over $200 on two cases of Rachel’s Ginger Beer. These were to be used for a cocktail in the weekly Eat Seattle cooking classes and were supposed to be enough inventory to last through August. Unfortunately, these bottles have begun spontaneously combusting in our basement, not only spraying sweet ginger beer everywhere, but sharp glass as well. It prompted me to read the label closer only to discover that I purchased a product that becomes explosive after 4 weeks. In order to keep the product a tad longer I put these ginger bombs in the fridge which now take up the majority of the bottom shelf.
I’d like to say the idea hit me right there but famished, pre-caffinated, me closed the fridge and bee-lined it to Caffe Vita in Fremont. At the coffee shop it finally occurred to me that the spicy ginger flavor would be perfect in my asian-fusion sauce. In fact, I could supplement the traditional white wine for ginger beer and call it “lemongrass ginger beer blanc”. The name in itself was too perfect to pass up. Once fully caffeinated I headed over to the PCC to pick up the ingredients and experiment. Here’s the recipe on the Pure Food Fish website!
- 2 lbs Pure Food Copper River Salmon- Skin on. Portioned into 6 oz filets
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp Grapeseed Oil or any other high heat oil
- 1 leek- finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic- sliced
- 2 lemon grass stalks- ends trimmed and sliced
- Healthy pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lime leaves (optional)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- ¾ C ginger beer
- ½ C coconut cream
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp orange peel (cut off the orange with a knife with no white pith)
- 6 tbsp butter
- 5-6 Thai basil leaves- sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Salt the fish and let sit for 20 minutes covered in fridge. Take out of fridge 5 minutes before using. Pre-heat oven to 325
- Sautee finely chopped leek, sliced garlic, lemon grass and salt in 2 tbsp olive oil until leeks are soft and translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add lemon juice, orange juice and ½ cup of ginger beer. Increase heat to get a strong boil and reduce half way. Reduce heat to medium low and add heavy cream, honey and orange peel. Keep at a low simmer for 15 minutes to infuse the orange flavor.
- Take off heat and strain liquid. Place back in saucepan. Over low heat whisk in cold cubed butter. Hold sauce until fish is ready. When read to serve, taste and add more salt if desired. Add sliced basil then spoon onto plate.
- In a non-stick oven proof pan (non-stick cast iron is a good option) heat up oil. Add ground pepper to filets. Once oil is very hot add the fish filets skin side down. Move pan to ensure the skin doesn’t stick. Cook for 1-2 minutes until brown then flip onto flesh side to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Once both sides are browned, flip back onto skin side. Drizzle a little more oil over fish to ensure it doesn’t dry out in oven then cook for 4 minutes at 325.
- Remove from oven and serve with sauce