I've made some major life decisions in the past week - namely deciding that I do want to pursue my dream of opening a restaurant to express myself, to express my style of cooking. Food is art and I've always had a thing for the arts, I just happened to pick up a knife instead of a paintbrush. I want to put myself, that girl from the north country, on a plate - with venison medallions and spruce sorbet and things that really surprise you while being true to my Scandinavian Midwestern roots. True to my history as the Army's child, raised with one foot in every state.
This one's inspired by Hawaii.
I remember my first taste of Chinese black vinegar at a Chinese supermarket in Honolulu- strangely aromatic, full of star anise and acid, sweet and bright. I thrilled to the strange taste, my tongue trying to discern this new flavor. And then, just like that, it was gone again from me for over twenty years until I picked it up by chance in New York's Chinatown. Once I opened the bottle, the flavor and memory rushed back to me in waves. This was it, this was that complex flavor I'd tried so long ago. It pairs perfectly with fish, cooked to perfection with a crispy skin and crust, flaking beneath your fork. That gentle sweetness of the fish balances the complex earthiness of the vinegar, the salt of the soy sauce, the brightness of the lemon. All food should have balance and this, this is it.
1 salmon filet
2 tbsp canola oil
1 oz soy sauce
1 oz black vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp scallions, sliced on the bias
Preheat oven to 350. Pat salmon filet dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in 10" skillet over high heat. Once oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add fish skin side down and cook several minutes or until fish, skin and all, easily releases from pan. Using a fish turner or spatula, flip filet over and cook top down until crust is achieved. Place entire pan in oven for 3-5 minutes or until fish is opaque, flaky, and registers 145 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, vinegar, and lemon juice. Heat in a small pan for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and reduced by half. Remove salmon from oven and top with sauce and scallions.